Vicente Oropeza – The first recognized champion of the world in the “Trick and Fancy Roping” event belonged to Vicente Oropeza (sometimes spelled as Vincente Oropeso) of Puebla, Mexico. The year was 1900.
It has long been accepted that the American Cowboy first learned his trade from the Mexican Vaquero. The Vaquero had been “cowboying” in what is now the American Southwest and Northern Mexico since the 1500s. From gear, techniques, and language, to cowboy sporting events, origins can be traced back to the Vaquero, in one form or another. Trick roping is no exceptionIn his younger days Oropeza toured Mexico with Ponciano Diaz, a famous Bull Fighter who also put on shows.
It was during one of these shows he made contact with Buffalo Bill Cody who then invited Vicente and several other Charro performers to preform in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Will Rogers has been quoted many times as giving Oropeza credit for inspiring his trick roping. On several occasions, he also credits Vicente as being the greatest trick roper—ever.