At 7-years-old Bubba Buckaloo went to Las Vegas during the Wrangler NFR for a dummy roping.
“I guess I didn’t do very good and I told my dad that I didn’t want to go back out there until I made it to the rodeo,” Buckaloo remembers.
Now his lifelong dream is becoming a reality as he prepares to back in the box on December 6th for his first-ever Wrangler NFR qualification.
“Shoot, I think I started roping when I was 4 years old and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do is make the NFR,” he said.
While it’s now a matter of days before he nods his head in the Thomas and Mack, Buckaloo isn’t sure which horse he’ll be riding, either his grey Silver, or the Durfer Quarter Horses' stud, Dash Ona Drifter, "Prowler".
“They’re both really good in that fast set-up,” Buckaloo said.
Having two great horses this summer was especially valuable to Buckaloo so he could split the number of runs he made on each horse to keep them both at their best.
“I won really good on both horses," Buckaloo added. "They’re so dependable I can ride either one of them anywhere I needed to."
Prowler already has NFR experience as Erich Rogers rode him there in 2014.
“I feel like I might be a little more comfortable on him because I know what he’s going to do,” Buckaloo said about the 16-year-old.
He plans to make his decision after they rope the steers that will be roped at the Wrangler NFR.
“Right now I’m probably leaning more towards Prowler, but I won’t know for sure until I get out there and ride them both,” Buckaloo said.
Buckaloo is one of the only, if not the only team roper, who hauls and rides a stud. But, it doesn’t create any additional challenges since Prowler is such a good, dependable horse.
“He’s just a great horse,” Buckaloo said as he talked about the influence Prowler has had on his roping.
Up until a couple years ago, Buckaloo worked for Dufur Quarter Horses. They’re still good friends, but because of his desire to be home with his family, Buckaloo now rides his own horses and runs his cattle operation.
“They have a really good program over there,” Buckaloo commented. "I’ve never had a whole lot of money so I’ve had to make most of my horses or buy horses with problems and make them better.
He bought the grey gelding from a friend and never got his registration papers, but Silver originally came from Trevor Brazile.
“He’s a great horse–he’s been good from day one,” Buckaloo said.
However, the 13-year-old has some soundness issues.
“He’s has a cracked coffin bone on his right front foot," Buckaloo said. "He gets abscesses really bad in that foot. He has some spurs on his left knee.”
To maintain him, Buckaloo makes sure Silver is shod correctly with bar shoes and gets annual injections.