#12 Heartland Winner Earl Thomas
Keota, Okla.'s Earl Thomas won the #12 Heartland with Jason Mckenzie

Number and End:
I’m a 7 heeler and a 6+ header, but I primarily like to heel.

Association of Preference:
My favorite association is the World Series of Team Roping. It pays really well, and the ropings are enjoyable to go to.

Rope of Choice:
I use the Heat Classic medium.

Biggest Win:

My biggest win, as of recently, was probably this #12 Heartland in Graham. This roping went well, we drew four really good steers, and my partner, Jason Mckenzie, turned them really nice and made it easy for me to rope them. We have roped together before, he lives about 30 miles away from me, and we are friends, so that helped us. Even though we rope together, we have never won money together before. We had a chance recently to win money when we were high call at a roping, but we roped the last steer and the flagger waved it off, so this was an exciting win for us. What was also nice was that my son, EJ, won the regular #12 with his partner. We both like to heel, so we don’t usually rope together, but it was nice that we both went home with some money.

How you got into roping:
I roped calves as a kid until I was 15 and I switched over to team roping. I am a horse trainer, so I did odds and ends until I could afford to train horses and make a living, but I have never stopped team roping.

Your Favorite Roping:
My favorite roping I have ever been to was the World Series of Team Roping Finale last year. It was my first time ever going, and I didn’t win anything, but it was a nice roping. I had the opportunity to rope in the #13, the #12 and the #12 add-on roping. I enjoyed it because it was a really well-run roping, and honestly, it wasn’t a very hard roping if you didn’t beat yourself. I am definitely planning on going next year.

Best Horse:
My favorite horse was this sorrel horse I had named Petie, he was a Colonel Freckles- and King-bred horse. I bought him from my older brother when he was just two, and trained him myself. My good horse had gotten crippled, and he was just one of those exceptional horses that comes around, and he lived until he was 29. I have a Buckskin horse named Dusty and he’s an 11-year-old that I rope off of now. He’s a pretty nice horse, but it really does take a long time to get another good horse like Petie. You can go through 100 horses until you find another good one like that.

Why You Rope:
I rope because I really enjoy the hobby, and it directly ties into my business. So it all kind of works together, and it’s something that is fun for me.

Competition Philosophy:
All you have to do is stay focused, and don’t beat yourself. Most people wind up beating themselves, overthinking it. You don’t have to do that, you just need to rope four steers.

Day Job:
I am a horse trainer. I work with my son EJ. Me and my wife had four girls, and then we finally had a son, and he has been working with me and training horses since he was about 16 years old. We have about eight head, and we are riding a few of our own. I enjoy getting to work with my son and getting to go with him to team ropings, as well.

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