Manny Egusquiza has been a dominant force in the PRCA's Southeastern Circuit since joining the association in 1996. He's amassed over $300,000 in earnings, with six Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifications to his name. On April 1, 2017, Egusquiza took over for Garrett Tonozzi as the PRCA's Team Roping Contestant Director, and he looks to prioritize barrier length, communication and protection of contestants at every level of ProRodeo in his time as the team ropers' representative.
Why did you want this job?
Garrett always had me appointed in the Southeast. When I found out he wasn’t going to run, I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m going to try to have fun with it. I’m going to try to do the fairest job I can. I’m protecting the top 30 guys in the world, but I want to protect the circuit guys too because they're the backbone of the PRCA.
Explain how and why you'd like to discuss altering barrier length at certain rodeos.
To make the NFR, you have to be successful in a bunch of different setups. But here lately they think the shorter barriers will make the steers more even, and that’s just not the case.
All the setups are so fast anymore. We’re going to spin ourselves out, and we’re going to lose control. I’ve heard comments from guys down the line—I think there are certain places where team roping is allowed to be fast, but there are places it can never be fast because it makes for poor competition. If you make the barrier short at Salinas, there won’t be as many catches, obviously. But for the crowd, I’m trying to see how we can get more catches in more places. When there’s a bunch of 3s and short 4s, it makes for a poor roping. If you can score them out there, the steers can be more consistent. Instead of people trying to tee off every time and go fast, making people think, 'Man these guys can’t catch,' we could show them how nice the head horses are or how good these guys can rope. We have better horses and we’re getting better, but team roping has a certain time where you can be fast and a certain time to be consistent. It’s having the control to be able to set the rodeo up where it’s more even. We want to have a good team roping. I know the one-headers will get fast, but it had to have a little slowing down.
How will this help the membership?
It got to a point where I saw that, as a sport, we’re losing the circuit guy to the amateur rodeo and our sport is not growing. We’re getting equal money here and there and rodeo is getting better, but we aren’t getting new faces any faster because we’re going so fast at the smaller rodeos. If they want to make the barrier so short somewhere like Reno where the best guys all are anyway, that's one thing. But when we go to a semi-circuit rodeo like at Jackson, Miss., and the barrier is 2 under and you have to be under 4.6, the circuit guy has no chance. And that’s mainly a circuit rodeo. I’m really a circuit guy. I go enough to be in the top 30, but all my circuit buddies see how short that barrier is and don’t want to come back. It’s affecting the membership.
How do you plan to build relationships with stock contractors that can sometimes be tense?
I think of it like this: The relationship with the stock contractors is like a tire on your trailer. You have to make a trailer tire go round and round, and if it gets an air pocket in it, it’s going to blow. We don't want a blow out and we can't let any air pockets in. I want to just keep the conversation going. If we can get equal money, or get a $500 increase to get toward that goal, please, let’s do it. I don’t want to make it difficult for anyone.
How about steers–What are your plans to make sure the steers are as even as possible?
Steers are steers. We’ve been getting steers from Mexico for as long as we’ve been roping, and we’ve got native steers too. If I let my practice steer out there farther, they last longer and they’re not as slow. I’m working on putting these barriers out there a little farther, and I think that will help make the steers more even and they'll last longer. I want to try to help these stock contractors with these steers as far as setting up pens, picking out slower steers, telling them which ones not to bring back. I’ve got a group of guys on my team throughout the 12 circuits to try to help me on that end of the deal. I think sometimes we have to let the barriers out there a little farther just to help the stock contractor and at the end of the day it will help us. The guys in each circuit, if there's a rodeo I haven't been to, I don't know how far it really needs scored out, so I'll call them and we'll all be on the same page.
Don't miss our June 2017 issue for more on Egusquiza's plans for ProRodeo.