RIDIN' WITH THE FAMILY

George Strait gears up for his annual team roping classic in Texas.

It's crunch time on George Strait's south Texas ranch and at his sprawling home in San Antonio, Texas. George is putting the finishing touches on his second passion - the 2005 George Strait Team Roping Classic.

Team ropers from across the country - including George himself, his son George Jr., his brother Buddy, and Buddy's sons Trey and Walker - will gather at the San Antonio Rose Palace Arena March 11 and 12 for the largest open roping competition in the nation.

Originally created 23 years ago by George and Buddy as a small competition for friends and family, the GSTRC has become the premier open roping event in the sport, with hundreds of thousands of dollars up for grabs each year. The event is a true family affair, with George's wife, Norma, and Buddy's wife, Denise, as key organizers.

"It's truly satisfying to see the whole family involved in this event," declares George. "It's hard to believe we started this roping when some of them were very young - and now they're roping in it."

In team roping, two cowboys on horseback rope a steer. One rider tries to toss his rope over the horns of a steer running full speed into the arena. The second rider targets his rope at the steer's churning hoofs. The duo with the fastest time wins.

"My goal is, and has always been, to make the GSTRC the best roping out there. I won't be satisfied until I know it is," explains George.

- LARRY HOLDEN

To read more about George Strait's Team Roping Classic, pick up the new Country Weekly on newsstands today!

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