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Brady Tryan

Brady Tryan

First, he needed to find a horse for the National Finals Rodeo.

Then it appeared he would have to find a team roping partner for 2012.

But eventually, Brady Tryan knew everything would work out.

"At first, you panic a little,'' said the Huntley cowboy. "But there are so many guys who rope well, I knew I'd find somebody."

Tryan's search for a new team roping partner began when he and Jake Long parted ways following the day after the NFR in Las Vegas this past December.

"Just a different opportunity to do some different things,'' Tryan offered, not wanting to go into deeper detail.

Tryan and Long had qualified together for two consecutive NFRs. In 2010, they placed in five of 10 rounds, winning two, and earned more than $90,000.

At the 2011 NFR, the two overcame a slow start to place in five consecutive rounds, winning the eighth. They earned $49,903 over 10 days and both finished sixth in the world standings.

The team roping carousel began when Jake Corkill decided to take a break, while pondering his team roping future.

Chad Masters, who had roped with Corkill since 2008, decided to partner with Long.

"He's a good friend and a good partner, somebody I can see roping with for a long time,'' Masters told the PRCA of Long. Masters is a former world champion.

It didn't take long for Tryan to find somebody for the upcoming year.

He quickly dialed up Matt Zancanella, of Aurora, S.D. Zancanella is a three-time NFR qualifier, having roped with Travis Tryan at the 2002 and 2003 NFRs.

"I got a hold of him a few days after the finals,'' Brady Tryan said.

Brady Tryan and Zancanella do have a roping history. The two placed third at the prestigious George Strait team roping event in 2009.

"And we haven't roped together since,'' said Tryan.

Tryan roped with Ryan Motes, at the Mesquite, Texas rodeo and with three-time world champion Allen Bach at Odessa, Texas. He and Zancanella will begin their partnership in Denver.

Tryan, who had been staying at his brother Clay's place in Texas since after Christmas, said he and Zancanella will run a few steers before their turn in Denver.

"Matt's got a place where we can practice,'' Tryan said.

Zancanella, the father of two, is known for his superstition of not shaving before a rodeo.

He and Brady also share the same birthday, April 9, just 13 years apart. Tryan will be 23 this year, while Zancanella turns 36.

"Matt, he just ropes so well and finishes,'' said Tryan. "And he's a fun guy to be around.

"My goal every year is to qualify for the Finals. That hasn't changed for me.

"I'm real excited, the most excited I've ever been to start a new year."

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Julie Swanson, mother of Simms' barrel racer Molly Swanson, passed away on Sunday after a lengthy illness. Molly Swanson, a 10-time NFR qualifier, became the first barrel racer from Montana to win the NFR average in 1994. Julie Swanson trained and seasoned all of Molly's horses.

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Bull riding fans around the world will find out what the rest of us already know: that Billings is special.

The Professional Bull Riders announced that Billings is one of nine Built Ford Tough Series stops that will feature a special round matching the top 15 bull riders in the world against the 15 highest-ranked bulls at the event.

The special round will replace the championship round. Points earned in the special event will not count toward the results of the event.

The special round is one of a handful of changes the PBR is making for the 2012 season.

Another major change is trimming the list of qualifiers for BFTS events.

The first five events of the new season will include the top 40 qualifiers from the 2011 PBR World Finals. Riders unable to compete will be replaced by alternates from the highest-ranked riders in the Touring Pro Division.

However, starting with the sixth event of 2012, the field will be limited to the top 35 in the world.

The PBR Billings Invitational is May 4-6 at Rimrock Auto Arena and will be shown on CBS and the CBS Sports Network.