Seriously, what kind of person wants to get paid for getting whiplash on a daily basis? Roughies may be the most underpaid athletes in the world, but all of us in rodeo are underpaid athletes. A couple years ago in Houston, Tuf Cooper and I were looking at the calves selected for the final-four, $50,000 round when he asked me if I was nervous. The bulls were getting run in then too, and I said: “I’d be way more nervous to have to get on one of those things than I am to rope a calf!” I also hang out with bull riders and fellow Louisianans Jacob O’Mara and DJ Domangue, so I get to see what that end of the arena is like. Jacob and DJ are definitely great guys, but they’re not right in the head for what they do every day.
Roughies think they have it all figured out, but all they travel with is a vehicle and their rigging bags. Timeys are a bit more sophisticated and have to care for trucks and trailers and their well-trained horses. I’d rather care for a fine horse and haul it about than get on a darn bull or a bucking horse. But I do have to admit that bareback riders are funny and fun-loving. When you travel in a self-proclaimed “Wolf Pack,” go figure that you’d get into some pretty interesting situations. But how the heck are you going to win anything bareback riding against guys like Bobby Mote, Kaycee Feild, and Tilden Hooper? With guys like that, it’s really tough. Meanwhile, saddle-bronc riders are the dandies of the roughstock side of the arena—proper Western attire, pressed shirts, and starched jeans. They represent rodeo’s classic event, so they’ve got to look the part, right? Cody DeMoss sure has got the look down. That guy’s a cowboy, with his mustache and aviator sunglasses; cigar hanging out of his mouth while he’s riding. He’s got the buckles, too.
Shane Hanchey is a multi-time NFR-qualifying tie-down roper.
I’m not one to make fun of my friends, but timeys sure are an easy target. Since I rope quite a bit, too, and am on the timed-event side of things a lot in my spare time, I can honestly say that I don’t have a problem at all with timeys, but there sure are differences between the two ends of the arena. Tie-down ropers, for example, are smart, technical, horse-savvy people and may know more—and practice more—than competitors in most other events, but they should learn to pick on someone their own size. In fact, they should be more like the steer wrestlers, who never seem to have problems with other guys. That’s because steer wrestlers are huge and don’t need to brag. They can whip anyone who has a problem, and their hazer will back them right up! Unlike calf ropers, steer wrestlers actually have a more even matchup with their animals. And a lot of them don’t haul their own horses, so they’ve got to be savvy enough to figure out which horses to ride. The strongest, toughest, and coolest of the timeys, steer wrestlers are the guys I’d want on my side should a disagreement ever come up.
Then there are the team ropers, who are sometimes looked down on by the young bucks in the other rodeo events. At least until they get too old to do their own events and become team ropers themselves. Team ropers are a mix of every discipline, really, and just about everyone can team rope. I don’t really have anything bad to say about them, because I am one, too. It’s kind of like the cowboy version of golf, if you were to make a comparison. When you want to relax, be a team roper. You don’t even have to get off your horse and get your boots muddy. Heck, someone else takes your rope off in the stripping chute at the end for you, too.
Seth Glause is a multi-time NFR-qualifying bull rider and saddle-bronc rider.