For those of us who rope for a living, it’s such a hectic, fast-lane lifestyle.
There are a lot of people-friends and family-who help us along the way in our travels. We’re gone away from home a lot, so those of us with a home and a family rely on people who help as far as looking after things for us at home. They help take care of our stock, our places, help us drive and do anything else they can to help. Then there are the horseshoers, veterinarians and the people we stay with every year along the way. These are the people who welcome us to stay at their places and give us a chance to practice at their facilities. There are so many helpful people, and without all the wonderful, helpful friends it would be extremely difficult to do what we do.
For me personally, my mom (Bitsy) is a huge help. She stays at the place, and that allows Alisa and I to take off in the summertime and know everything’s taken care of. She watches over the small animals and the large animals, gets the mail and pays the bills. That’s a great help to us.
I have a couple of veterinarians here at home, Dr. Howell and Dr. Galley, who’ve helped me tremendously when it comes to taking care of my horses. I try to coordinate trips home to where my horseshoer, Phil Shurden, can shoe my horses as much as possible. Colter Todd and Charly Crawford do them in the middle of the summer when I’m gone
A real close friend by the name of Tom Cox has been a great help to me through the years. He’s helped find horses for me since I was 16 years old. Tom found Jazz, the 7-year-old that I rode at the NFR, for me. I’ve gotten the majority of my horses between Tom Cox, and Ozzie and Judy Gillum. Rickey Green loaned me the blue horse I rode at the NFR in 2006, which was a big help to me. I’ve gotten a couple really good horses from Wayne Baize in El Paso, too. Those people have always welcomed me to come and stay at their places, and they treat me like one of the family when I’m in their part of the country.
There are so many people around the places we travel and rodeo who help us by allowing us to come stay and keep our horses. Jackie and Allen Vohs have been great friends. Jackie’s our travel agent, and she gets things done. She also introduced me to my beautiful wife. We stay at their place when we’re in Las Vegas.
There are people in every state that we travel that have become friends over the years. There isn’t enough room here to mention all of them. But between them and my close friends that I rodeo with, guys like David Key, Kory Koontz and Allen Bach-all of the guys-everybody is helpful and respectful. The group of guys I’m around all the time, who I admire, has grown into a pretty big group that includes the top 40 headers and heelers, and the circuit guys from all over the country, too. They’re all great people who are helpful and encouraging.
This is one of the things I enjoy about rodeoing now more than ever-the friendships and the visits. There are hundreds and hundreds of people out there who I’ve come to know, admire and enjoy. They’re all an encouragement and a big help along the way. These friendships are one of the rewards of my life that I’m very thankful for.