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story.lead_photo.caption Winners line up for recognition at Saturday's team roping event at Four States Fair Rodeo Arena. According to officials from VIP Team Roping, events like these are how competitors qualify for the higher level championships throughout the year. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

Rodeo and horsemanship competitions were front and center Saturday at an exhibition put on by VIP Team Roping.

Steer wrestlers and ropers of various types showed off their skills and earned their laurels at the competition, which continues Sunday.

"These events sort of continuously roll," said Natie Johnson, producer of VIP Team Roping. "But this is pretty much the beginning of the '21 season."

Last year was full of uncertainty, but the cowboy community rode things in stride.

"This is business as usual for the riders and the spectators," Johnson said, "though masks are certainly optional."

This event featured several kinds of competition. For rodeo contestants in steer wrestling, breakaway roping and tiedown roping, the top performers will be eligible to participate in the American Rodeo in Arlington, Texas. For the team ropers, this was just one event of many throughout the year.

"The team roping competitors will be using events like this to qualify for the biggest events throughout the year," Johnson said. "The top tier event for team roping takes place December in Las Vegas."

For VIP Team Roping, the work is just beginning.

"We will be hosting many events throughout the year at various locations in the American South-Southwest region," he said. "Our next one at Four States Fair and Rodeo will be in August."

(For more information, visit VIP Team Roping at vipteamroping.com online.)

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