Today’s the day RodeoHouston will crown its 2018 Super Shootout Champions. The $50,000 won’t count toward the world standings, but that’s game-changing money in the life of any rodeo cowboy.
Before we see who gets handed the big checks and boatload of prizes that come with a RodeoHouston title, I’d like to commend the Houston committee and community for all you’ve done for cowboys and their families during the run of your rodeo. If you want to make a mom with two cowboys on her home team happy, come up with a plan that allows her to take in two real-deal cowboy contests at the same time. And feed her son when she can’t be there to do so herself. Thank you, RodeoHouston, for doing just that for me and this rodeo family that connects us all these past couple weeks.
Two weeks ago, I made the trip to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to watch my son Lane compete at the Timed Event Championship, a trying test that includes five grueling rounds in rodeo’s five timed events—heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping. I had the privilege of watching the ironman marathon in person alongside the mom of the greatest timed-event cowboy of all time, Trevor Brazile. If ever you’ve wondered how it is that someone so incredibly talented and accomplished as Trevor comes by his humility, grace and class so naturally, get to know Glenda.
Meanwhile, my son Taylor was tie-down roping at RodeoHouston’s NRG Stadium for the first time. How Houston works is that every guy there competes in three Super Series rounds, then the top four money-winners advance. My double-dipping, three-day routine on the walk from the Lazy E barns to that massive arena that Timed Event announcer Justin McKee calls “a wide-open cow pasture” was to pause, pull up a seat on the fence by the pond, and watch Taylor rope via the RodeoHouston live stream on my phone on the way to the Timed Event perfs. Meanwhile, cowboys, families, friends and fans in Houston who wanted to take in the Timed Event could likewise watch it courtesy of the live stream on Ride TV.
My heart was full watching my baby boy living his dream amongst the greats in our game on walking-fresh calves. Taylor placed in two of three rounds in his Super Series, and was one out of advancing. He was naturally a little let down not to get to go on, but he could not have been more complimentary when telling me about his first experience in RodeoHouston’s cowboy village, where the RodeoHouston family hosts the contestants and their families, including their horses.
Taylor was in appreciative awe telling me about how they treat cowboys at RodeoHouston.
“They make the cowboys feel so welcome here,” he said. “You could literally plug in here for the entire run of the rodeo and not spend a dollar. They give us free stalls with free shavings for our horses. They feed us, and will cook for us at any hour of the day. They’ll wash your clothes for free, and give you free propane for your trailer. There are courtesy vehicles with drivers for free rides around town. They have two TVs with DVD players, so you can watch your calf or steer go the night before and see what he does. There are no entry fees, and they pay us to sign autographs.”
Taylor is 23. Two-time World Champion Team Roper Walt Woodard is 62, and he was just as grateful and giddy when I talked to him about RodeoHouston’s cowboy hospitality a couple days ago.
“They don’t just give you free shavings for your free stalls, the shavings are deep,” Walt said. “And please, by all means, put plenty of free shavings in your trailer so your horse will have a comfortable ride home or to the next rodeo. Do you or your family need a ride to or from the airport? Anywhere you want to go! No sweat. We’ll be happy to give you a lift. They gave me two concert tickets, so I could sit right there next to the stage with my wife and watch Garth Brooks. No entry fees. $500 for signing your name for 20 minutes a night. The food they feed us is amazing, and the hospitality is fantastic.”
Walt and his fellow two-time World Champion Team Roper Matt Sherwood advanced to today’s Super Shootout by placing second and right behind Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp in last night’s Wild Card Round. Rounding out the RodeoHouston Super Shootout team roping roster today will be Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, Garrett Rogers and Russell Cardoza, Dustin Bird and Jake Minor, Marcus Theriot and Cody Doescher, Nelson Wyatt and Trace Porter, Jake Orman and Will Woodfin, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler.
If you care to join me in watching cowboys cash $50,000 RodeoHouston checks while also collecting the coveted RodeoHouston saddles and buckles, it starts at 3:45 Texas time this afternoon. Bringing broadcast team extraordinaire Bob Tallman, Boyd Polhamus and Andy Seiler into your living room or onto your phone is as easy as going to RodeoHouston.com, and selecting the live stream option. Good luck today, guys! And on behalf of every cowboy you’ve treated like rodeo royalty these past couple weeks—and their moms—thank you, RodeoHouston!