BILLINGS -- With three active sons and a world-class team roping career, teaching a newcomer to the game wasn’t high on Clay Tryan’s list.
“Not unless they’re named Tryan or a family member,” said the three-time world champion with a good laugh.
Needing a new team roping partner for 2018, Tryan decided to turn back the clock, joining forces with Travis Graves, of Jay, Oklahoma.
Tryan and Graves were successful in their first pairing, roping together in 2010, 2011 and 2012. They twice finished second in the PRCA world team roping standings (2010, 2011) and eighth in 2012.
Tryan and Graves won more than $500,000 together in PRCA earnings and placed in 14 rounds of the National Finals Rodeo.
“When we roped together, we did everything but win a world title,” said Tryan.
The pair also enjoyed success at major team roping events like the Bob Feist Invitational in Reno, Nevada, and the George Strait Team Roping Classic.
Tryan has roped the previous five years with Jade Corkill, with the two winning world titles in 2013 and 2014. They also won the National Finals average in 2014.
The pair won more than $725,000 together in the PRCA. Tryan, roping with Corkill, finished 10th in the world team roping heading standings in 2017.
The two also won the Elite Rodeo Athletes team roping title in 2016.
Tryan, who joined the PRCA in 1997, is a 15-time NFR qualifier. He entered 2018 with $2.308 million in PRCA earnings. His money won in the PRCA is only second to seven-time world champion Dan Mortensen ($2.55 million) for a Montana cowboy.
Graves is a nine-time NFR qualifier, including the last eight in a row. Since roping with Tryan, he has roped with Kaleb Driggers (2013), Trevor Brazile (2014), Chad Masters (2015, 2017) and Colby Lovell (2016) in Las Vegas.
Tryan said he and Graves roped together at jackpot events the past few years.
Tryan, who has spent the bulk of his spring watching sons Tyler, Braylon and Dash play baseball, was 26th in the world team roping heading standings. He is just $3,400 out of the top 15. Graves is 36th for team roping heelers.
They plan to rope together for the entire year.
“That’s the plan. Unless you know something I don’t,” Tryan joked.