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Top-10 cowboys to battle in Denton

Two members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top 10 in tie-down roping will square off at the eighth annual Gordie Moore “Bubblegum” Memorial Roping event Saturday at Diamond T Arena.

Tuf Cooper of Decatur, second in the PRCA rankings and the defending world champion, will go head-to-head with Aubrey’s eighth-ranked Timber Moore in a 10-calf, $10,000 match roping event sponsored by Cinch.

The Gordie Moore “Bubblegum” Memorial Roping has grown in popularity every year. Proceeds from the event go to charities and to a scholarship fund at Ponder High School.

Gordie Moore moved in 1974 from Canada to Ponder, where he operated a cutting horse ranch with his wife, Dianne. They raised a daughter, Tate, and son, Timber, and all were involved in rodeo.

Timber Moore competed on the junior rodeo circuit and qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo while a senior at Ponder. He continued to compete in amateur rodeo events throughout the United States and moved to Canada, where he competed in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and was named rookie of the year in 2007.

He returned to North Texas with his wife, Valerie, in 2008 and has experienced the highs and lows of professional rodeo. In 2011, he finished 13th in the world standings after a strong showing at the National Finals Rodeo. But early in 2012 he suffered a torn ACL while playing basketball at home and underwent surgery.

When Gordie Moore died in 2005, Dianne Moore and family friend J.D. Tadlock came up with the idea for Gordie Moore “Bubblegum” Memorial Roping. Eight years later, it has turned into a three-day event and entries are limited because of its popularity.

“It has gotten bigger and better each year,” Tadlock said. “We’ve been able to add more events and even added the match roping event five years ago.”

Timber Moore’s mother explained how the event got its name.

“When Gordie and J.D. were still competing, a lot of the ropings had events for the kids,” Dianne Moore said. “They would jokingly say ‘are you going to the bubblegum roping?’ When we decided to start this event, the name came naturally.”

Competition will begin Friday night with team roping. Saturday’s events include the girls breakaway roping and men’s 65-plus roping before the open tie-down roping event begins at 1 p.m. with two rounds for 60 ropers. Cooper and Timber Moore will start their match roping showdown between the first and second rounds and will complete their event at the end of the open roping.

The event concludes Sunday with the 12-and-under, the 15-and-under and the 19-and-under roping events.

Tickets will cost $10 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday.