Photo by James Phifer.……

The 124th Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo upped the ante: they moved into the new Dickies Arena, implemented a new rodeo format, and added WPRA breakaway roping with an equal added payout of $127,600.

Each ProRodeo event featured 56 contestants who were divided into seven brackets that competed in two rounds. Money won determined who advanced to the semifinal rounds or wildcard round, and ultimately the championship finals.

Cassie Bahe, along with her younger sister, Anna, earned their opportunity to rope at the FWSSR by being ranked high enough in the WPRA Breakaway Roping World Standings after having success in the Wilderness Circuit.

Both sisters rode Roy, a 13-year-old grade gelding raised by their family that came off their grandparents’ ranch in Gooding, Idaho. “That horse is so easy to rope fast on – he makes it so easy,” said Bahe. “He’s got a heart of gold and he tries so hard every time.”

Bahe was the first roper out on Saturday night and set the bar high with a 2.3-second run. Although she had to wait it out for seven other cowgirls to compete, she said she preferred it that way. “Honestly, I was glad to go first and set the bar high,” said Bahe. “I have dreamed of an opportunity like this since I was little.”

Bahe’s run beat out 19-time WPRA World Champion Jackie Crawford’s 2.4-second run. The 24-year-old Utah cowgirl cashed in $20,000 for her first-place win and etched her name into the history books as Fort Worth’s first breakaway roping champion.

“It’s awesome – I feel extremely grateful,” said Bahe. “It’s a huge honor just to compete there, and then to come out winning it – you can’t even put that into words, it’s so cool. This is what I would dream about ever since I was a little girl – to compete on this kind of a stage. To be the first one to win it…I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.”