Buckle Up with Shay Carroll

When Shay Carroll made his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014, one man stood a little taller, a little prouder, than anyone else—Shay’s grandfather, Truett Carroll.

For some, breakthrough wins come at a major rodeo or jackpot. For others, like Shay Carroll, a breakthrough win means something more than money.

Credit: Trisha Miller Photo

“This is the first buckle I won with an elite header,” Carroll said of his 2013 Jingle Bell Classic win. “I won it with Turtle Powell when we were jackpotting together a little bit this winter. It was the first one I won with a pro header like him.”

Carroll has won a College National Finals Rodeo championship and placed second at the 2012 U.S. Open, but this $5,000 jackpot meant he could win with the best in the game. 

“I was riding a horse at the Jingle Bell Classic I call HK because he came off the HK Ranch,” Carroll explained. “He was owned by a friend of mine, and he wanted $30,000 for him. I wanted to buy him, but obviously I couldn’t afford him. So when I won second at the U.S. Open (with Colby Siddoway), I walked out of the arena and bought that horse.”

Carroll hadn’t owned the horse a month when he was playing in a muddy pen and sliced his foot open. The horse was laid up a year recovering, and the Jingle Bell Classic was the first roping at which he could ride him again.

What will it take to get Carroll to trade this buckle for a newer, shinier one? “It will take Salinas, Cheyenne or a go-round buckle or a gold buckle.” 

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