Family keeps roping tradition alive

by Eric Norwood Jr.

CNJ STAFF WRITER

enorwood@pntonline.com

Fifteen-year old Zant Zamora anxiously watched his father, Kenny, as he updated the crowd on standings in the World Series of Team Roping on Saturday at Curry County Events Center, and the time of the most recent competitor on Saturday. He then scurried over to the business desk to grab something his father asked him to fetch, while Kenny Zamora, the event’s producer and announcer, poured over a laptop, checking some times and announcing the next ropers.

CMI staff photo: Eric Norwood Jr. zZant Zamora, 15, left, watches his father Kenny Zamora as he announces times during the World Series of Team Roping qualifying event on Saturday at the Curry County Events Center. Zamora Roping Productions promoted the event, and they put on events in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Kenny Zamora is also a 1985 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University.

CMI staff photo: Eric Norwood Jr.
zZant Zamora, 15, left, watches his father Kenny Zamora as he announces times during the World Series of Team Roping qualifying event on Saturday at the Curry County Events Center. Zamora Roping Productions promoted the event, and they put on events in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Kenny Zamora is also a 1985 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University.

A few rows away, Jordan Fabrizio, 23, checked out her competition. The professional team roper and graduate student at West Texas A&M was fiddling with her lasso, anxiously awaiting her next go.

A few feet from Fabrizio was Carson Shelton, 31, cheering on seemingly every competitor. Sayings such as, “there ya go,” or, “almost had that sucker,” would come out of Shelton’s mouth every few moments, echoing the very sentiments of those competitors yet from a bleacher seat.

This World Series of Team Roping event had different meanings for everyone in attendance. For Kenny Zamora, the producer of the event and the man behind Zamora Roping Productions, he was keeping the family business going as well as coming home in a way.

“My father started Zamora Roping Productions in 1974 and I took over 25 years ago,” said Zamora, who graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1985 and lived in Portales for 11 years.

ZRP puts on around 25 events per year in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Seven of his family members work for the business, including Zant, a team roper in his own right.

Zant was in an advantageous position, in that he was getting to learn the business of promoting a team roping event, as well as getting tips on his own technique.

“My dad and my grandpa inspire me the most,” he said. “I’ve probably been on a horse since I was two, and I want to be a team roper and work for the family business too.”

Fabrizio was already in the midst of her professional career, having turned pro at 18.

“My whole family is into rodeo,” said Fabrizio, a native of Pueblo, Colo. “It’s something I picked up from them. I knew around age 14 this is what I wanted to do.”

Fabrizio competes almost every weekend while attending school full-time. She competed at the World Series of Team Roping Finale in Las Vegas, Nev. in early December, and though she didn’t do as well as she’d hoped, she’s had plenty of success.

“I don’t even know, it’s a lot,” said Fabrizio when asked the number of competitions she has won. She did say that the most she took home in one night of team roping was $40,000.

“I want to make women a more known presence at these events,” said Fabrizio.

Moments later, another “Atta boy,” was bellowed from the other side of the bleachers. Carson Shelton, a truck driver sitting alone, was sipping a Coke and enjoying the show.

“I’m just a fan of rodeo, period,” said Shelton. “I like to see these guys and gals come out here and compete.”

Shelton, from Roswell, drove down to watch the event on one of his rare days off from hauling whatever he can fit into his trailer.

“I used to rope when I was younger, but now I just like to watch,” he said. “This is pure family-friendly entertainment, and if I had a wife and kids, they’d be here with me watching.”

An outsider may see an arena full of cowboys, cows, and manure, but others such as the Zamoras, Shelton, or Fabrizio see family, dreams, or memories.

“That’s right!,” bellowed Shelton.