Team Egusquiza and Lord: A Gunslinging Twofer
Best friends Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord are paired up for speed in 2023.
Dustin Egusquiza Levi Lord | James Phifer Photo
Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord won the first round in their bracket with this 4.2-second sizzler at Fort Worth. FWSSR Photo by James Phifer

Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord are one of the most talked about new teams in 2023.

It’s because they’re one of those cool combos where both partners like to go fast. When they connect, they win. And in the early going of this new rodeo season, their team’s success already includes a consistent high-speed catch rate. They just advanced out of their bracket and into the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Semifinals on the heels of the 4.2-second run of the rodeo thus far. 

Meet Levi Lord’s LB

Egusquiza’s from Marianna, Florida, and Lord grew up far, far away in Sturgis, South Dakota. But they live just four miles apart now—on opposite ends of Mineral Wells, Texas—which makes for great team building. 

“I think Levi’s one of the best heelers in the world now, and on top of that, he’s one of my best friends,” Dustin said. “My fiancée, Mariah (Horton) and Levi’s girlfriend, Baileigh (Baker) are best friends also, so we pretty much do everything together every day anyway. If we aren’t over at each other’s house for dinner, we’re golfing or practicing.”

In years past, the pairing of a risk-taker with a more moderate, high-percentage partner has been pretty typical team match-making on paper. But that’s not the case with these two. 

Egusquiza and Lord
Work or play, Dustin, Mariah, Levi and Baileigh are the best of friends.

“We both kind of have the same mindset as far as agreeing that there’s no point in backing down and just trying to catch,” Dustin said. “We want to win first. There are situations where that doesn’t apply, like on our second steer in our bracket at Fort Worth, where all we had to do was win fourth to advance and we just went and caught. 

“Riding up there a little more was just the right play under the circumstances, because when I bring it over the barrier every time, my horse starts anticipating that. That run was a really good opportunity to help my horse for these next few weeks.”

Lord showed his range and discipline on that second run also, and finished it by making a tricky shot off of the left wall look easy. 

“Levi’s been known as a guy who throws fast most of his career,” Dustin said. “But he’s not just a one-dimensional heeler. At any time, he can heel one on the first jump or just go get him caught. Not all my handles look the same, so it’s good to have him back there.

“Good heelers don’t get enough credit. If I throw it over the barrier and Levi catches on the first jump, everybody’s like, ‘Dang, did you see how far he threw it?’ What heelers do back there is just as hard as heading. It’s impressive how well they ride the corner, and put themselves in position to make it look easy to rope two feet. They don’t always get the wow factor we do as headers, but their job is just as hard as ours is.”

Fort Worth is this new team’s fourth rodeo. They entered Albuquerque together last fall, when both had the Finals made with their 2022 partners, which were Travis Graves and Jr Dees, respectively. Dustin and Levi have since been to Odessa, Denver and Fort Worth. They won the first round at Denver, and placed sixth in the second one. 

“It’s pretty obvious how fast Dustin gets it on ’em,” Levi said. “I’ve been known for going fast also, but I might have to change that a little bit heeling behind him for the times when we do just need to go catch. 

“It’s amazing how fast he can get his rope up and get it on steers. Dustin’s one of a kind, but I’ve roped with him enough the last five or six years at the jackpots that I’m not just jumping in blind. I’ve had some great partners, so it’s actually been a pretty easy transition.”

Watch Dustin Egusquiza on Roping.com

As for their team’s game plan, they’re definitely on the same page there.

“Our run’s going to be pretty aggressive every time,” Levi said. “We’re going to go at ’em, and try to win first. Dustin sure makes it look easy to throw at the mouth of the box. If you can do that, why not take the shot every time? 

“The way we see it, he’s going to get it on steers fast, and my job is to rope ’em as fast as I know I can catch ’em. I think when we catch, we’ll be fast enough.”

If the team that prays together stays together, it’s worth noting that this particular Sunday morning sit-down was postponed until after the service at HighRidge Church, which Dustin and Levi attended together in their shared hometown. 

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