Of course, all the Arena Arts started as practical skills. Use of the rope goes back into the mists of time but it was brought over to the New World by the Spaniards and worked its way up into the States. At the nearest playground you’ll see how the basic ranching skills began to develop into elaborate performances. Any group of kids embarking on a new sport are going to challenge each other and perfect their prowess. So it was, too, that the very necessary ability to ride a horse, lasso a cow, pull a gun or steer a herd, came to be marvelous arts that we cherish today. The WWAC exposes new groups to these skills and cultivates the talents of those who are already interested.
The Club was started fifteen years ago when Mark Allen held a Trick Ropers Convention at the Will Rogers Ranch in California. Mark had traveled around the world and supported himself by performing western routines. He discovered that people everywhere are fascinated by the skills of the American cowboy and when he got back home he decided to dedicate himself to helping others learn & practice those arts. At that first get-together in 1990, Will Rogers Jr., his brother Jimmy Rogers, Montie Montana and over 100 trick ropers decided to keep things going.
Trick roping was in decline at the beginning of the 20th century when Will Rogers made it a part of his theatrical routine. Here, at the start of the 21st century, interest in this by-gone skill is on the rise and it’s probably safe to say the the WWAC has been instrumental in the recent resurgence of all these skills. Appropriately, The Will Rogers Memorial of Claremore, Oklahoma has supported the WWAC with grants for Trick Roping Prizes that are awarded at the Club’s annual get-togethers.
It takes a lot of work to master any of the Western Arena Arts but even beginners can get a lot of satisfaction the first time they see their ropes make a circle or hear their whips crack. Whole families return to the WWAC get-togethers year after year and it’s wonderful to see the progress made by little “whippersnappers” who become more and more proficient as they enter their teens. The WWAC puts its efforts & money into being “Savers of the Lost Arts.”
Education: Small meets are held throughout the year in Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Wisconsin where members practice, learn, compete and share their knowledge while seeing old pals. Aside from regional gatherings, the Club hosts an annual event in Las Vegas, which is attended by as many as 300 people aged 8 to 80.
Members come from all over to enhance their skills. Youngsters of five can develop their techniques literally at the knees of old hands from the Golden Age of the Western Movies. Montie Montana, Jr. – from a legendary Wild West family and the producer of the modern day Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – makes time to tutor little boys & girls in many of the western disciplines. And, yes, girls are a large part of the WWAC. The California Cowgirls, Riata Ranch Cowboy – Cowgirls, Tucson Boys Chorus, Cactus Cowboys and kids from all over attend our events.