By Joe Kusek
In August, Kelsie Chace purchased a new home, a 30-acre spread in Dublin, Texas.
The new homestead is a short distance southwest of Stephenville, Texas where Chace had spent the last six years living with Jackie Crawford and her family.
Since then, Chace has spent much of her time sprucing up the new home. She’s put up an 80-foot by 220-foot arena with 150 feet of it covered, tore down some old calf pens and has done a little bit of everything else that needs to be done around the place.
“Mowing, lots of mowing,” Chace said with a soft chuckle. “I enjoy working around the house. I like to work on stuff.”
She also found time to keep her roping schedule and with it, find the perfect centerpiece for the living room.
A brand-new shiny WPRA All-Around championship saddle.
Chace earned money in all three roping disciplines – breakaway roping, tie-down roping and team roping – at the WPRA World Finals in the Show Pavilion at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas, Nov. 13-15 to win the all-around by the closest of margins.
“I honestly like all of it,” she said of trying to pick a favorite roping event.
Chace earned $7,870 in the 2020 all-around race, enough to hold off teenager Gracie Gambino of Lindale, Texas by $171. Good friend and roping partner Crawford, the World Finals all-around winner, was just $248 behind in the final standings.
“It was awesome,” said of Chace of collecting her third WPRA all-around title. She also won in 2012 and 2017. “Of course, the all-around is in the back of your mind. Going into it, I knew I had an outside chance. I won some money early in the season and that helped. It all comes down to who has a better finals.”
It was Chace’s eighth WPRA year-end title overall. The Oklahoma native also has two tie-down roping titles (2012, 2018) and two breakaway roping championships (2018, 2019) on her resume. She finished second to J.J. Hampton in the 2020 breakaway roping standings and was third in tie-down roping, seventh for team roping heelers and ninth for team roping headers.
Chace and Crawford won the WPRA World Finals team roping average title, posting consistent times of 7.9, 7.3 and 7.5 through three rounds of competition for a total of 22.7 seconds.
“We did well. It was pretty sweet to get the win,” Chace said. “We were second last year with some young horses. We came back this year with seasoned horses and they were ready. This year, we made sharp turns and got the job done.”
Chace came agonizingly close to earning a whole lot more money in Waco.
She tied for second in the first two rounds of breakaway roping with times of 2.5 and 2.4 seconds and was leading the average going into the third round but missed on her loop.
In tie-down roping, she won the first round (12.5 seconds) and third round (13.3) but encountered trouble in the second round. “My calf got up,” Chace said.
She rode her horse Little Man, a 15-year-old chestnut gelding for both the breakaway and tie-down roping. Chace was aboard Ticket, a horse she borrowed, for the team roping.
“Little Man, he’s just so fast. He runs hard and stops hard. He gets me going. He knows how to do his job,” she said.
Entering the World Finals Chace knew the all-around race was close. She turned to her mother Lisa to find out who was where during the event.
“I’m a numbers girl,” said Chace. “My mom asked, ‘Do you want the break down?’ I told her I’ve just got to do my job.”
Ironically, Chace didn’t know if she had accomplished her job. She left Waco for another event in the Dallas area before the final numbers were tabulated.
“I didn’t know for a couple of hours. I was kind of panicked,” Chace said. “There was a lot of waiting.”
She was sitting in her truck when Crawford texted her the good news. “She told me, ‘Good job pardner. You won the year-end and I won the finals,’” Chace remembered. “I was pretty excited. The all-around championship saddle is something I will cherish for sure.”
With the transition in address, Chace was listed from both Cherokee, Oklahoma and Dublin in the WPRA World Finals results.
“I’m an Okie,” said the graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State with another laugh. She earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in sports management. “It’s hard to take the Okie out of the girl. If people ask where I’m from, it’s Oklahoma. Where I live, Dublin.”
And she’s already planning her 2021 season.
“I’m hoping to go to more rodeos next year for the breakaway roping,” said Chace. “I want to go to the National Finals Rodeo next year. And go to the WPRA World Finals again, no doubt, and do it again.”