Manny Egusquiza Jr.?answers Spin To Win Rodeo’s Facebook fans’ questions about his move into ProRodeo’s spotlight, his switch from heeling to heading just last year, and much more. If you’d like to have a pro answer your question next month, visit facebook.com/spintowinrodeo and join in the discussion.
Daniel Aylward: How did you make the decision to switch ends?
It’s kind of funny. Last year around November or December when everybody was trying to figure out who was going to rope with who, I’m really good friends with Tom Bourne. And we were both heeling, and we didn’t have anybody to rope with. He said, “Why don’t you just head?” I had a couple horses I could head on, so one thing lead to another. The first weekend we went, we won $4,500 at a circuit rodeo down here. And now I’ve got this other horse I’m riding now, and I got him over the Forth, and it’s been a blessing really. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve done really good. His barn name is Izzie. I give all the credit to him and the Lord. There’s no words to describe it. I still wake up every morning and pinch myself, I think it’s a dream.
Kaid Panek: Now that you have gotten off to a great start, what is key to keep the momentum going through out the year?
Just practice and keep working hard every day. I try to not take a break and keep practicing. Every time I don’t try to work at it or figure out another angle at winning, every day those top 15 guys are working harder to get better and find better horses and get an edge. So that keeps me going. I love to practice, I really do. I’m addicted to practicing. I read a lot of articles that Jake and Clay and Speed have written. They’ve been my heroes. And just reading their articles, I try to live their lifestyles on the East Coast. Right now as we’re talking I’m riding a horse to practice. It’s rained for a week straight, and it’s a little muddy, and everybody thinks I’m crazy. It’s a little wet, but I’m going to practice.
Pancho Ramirez: Manny, I’ve been expecting this for a few years already, but what made you make the leap from the Southeast to the national PRCA level?
Well, I really thought it was a joke the whole time, but I rodeoed around here all year last year. And at the US Finals Brad Culpepper asked me to rope. I thought it was a joke. I won the 15 Shootout that afternoon, and I texted him and told him I had some money to go on. I told Brad if I were going to go out there I was going to rope with a guy like him. I still kind of thought he was joking, but here we are. The jump is having the partner. I’m really good friends with Jimmy Tanner. Jimmy said there’s three things you’ve got to have to rodeo with them guys: You’ve got to have a good horse, a good partner, and a little bit of finances. I’ve got two out of the three. Finances, I’ve got to keep winning for that. I’m not taking anything away from anybody, and both associations are tough to begin with, but you’ve got to rope against the top 15 guys in the world at the ProRodeos. It’s like going to the Thomas & Mack every night. You’ve got to have the horse both ways, I don’t want to take anything away from the guys back here. They’ll kick your butt anytime they can.
Quick Brigance: How do you keep your roan horse working from rodeos to ropings?
He’s pretty much automatic. As long as I have him turned out and not cooped up in a stall or tied onto a trailer, he’s been a blessing. I’ve tried to get home and give him a couple days rest and score some on him, but I don’t have to really do that. I do it for my preference, not for his. He’s a pretty easy keeper and doesn’t require much maintenance. Just good alfalfa hay and good feed. My kids keep him exercised for me. (Cody is 8-years-old and heels, and Annemarie is 9-years-old and barrel races.)
Tiffany Mead: What is your strategy for building a successful new team to compete with the pros?
Not missing. That’s really what we talked about. We’re going to catch every steer we draw. If we catch every steer we enter at, we’ll catch them and make a qualified time and see what happens. Brad makes all the strategy, I just sit around and listen.