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Association of preference:World Series of Team Roping by far, all though NTR is good as well. I have never been to a USTRC or ACTRA roping, so I wouldn’t know about those; however, the money and the opportunity is so great at the World Series ropings. They are some of the best put on ropings around here in Idaho. The opportunity you get to go and qualify for the Las Vegas Finale, you just don’t get that in any other sport as an amateur.
Rope of choice: Classic Spyder
Biggest win: The biggest win I had was the #9 in the Homedale, Idaho, roping on April 8, but really, that whole weekend. I won $5,300 in the #12 and $5,875 in the #9. So overall, I took home $11,175.
How you got into roping: I grew up on a ranch and farm, and roped a good portion of my life, while I also did some branding. I did some breakaway roping in high school, and did a little team roping, but never a lot, and I didn’t really put much dedication to it. I went on a 10-year hiatus, but eventually came back to it. It’s in my roots, but also, I’m a very determined person. So once I decide to do something, I am going to be the very best at it. But team roping has just been something I have always wanted to strive to be good at, because it’s such a challenge. I love roping up here in Idaho, but I also wanted to rope and compete with the tough ropers down in Arizona, so that’s really what I’ve been working on. My husband and I, we are team ropers and ranchers, and that’s just what we are, and it’s what we love. I also run barrels, but I feel like team roping is more fun, and you can win a lot more being an amateur team roper than a barrel racer.
Tell me about your #12 and #9 wins: In the #12, I was roping with my husband’s old rodeo partner BJ Roberts. He’s a #8 heeler and ropes great, we were second high call, with 24.81 on three. We had a pretty good steer and we were a long 7, but high call missed so we were the champs! I roped in the #9 with Brad Santucci. I’ve come to know him over the years, but we had never roped together before until Homedale. We were 30 on three, and all we had to be was 16 seconds to win the roping on our last run. I spun him a good one and he roped a leg, which put us at about 14 seconds, but we still won the roping, which was pretty cool.
Your favorite roping:I went to the World Series Finale this past year to watch my dad, and that was the first time I’ve ever watched the short go there. The energy and excitement was crazy, and honestly, that is what has driven me to be better. I want to be a part of that short round in Vegas, as an amateur, in your own NFR world without being a professional. It was just such a cool thing to watch. I am going this year and
roping with the partners I qualified with, but
I rope a lot with my husband, so we are hoping to qualify together so we can rope in it together as well.
Best horse you ever rode: This horse I am roping with now. His name is Gator, he is 6 years old, and I raised him and did everything with him from the ground up. He is by far the best horse I have rode, he just has so much natural talent and ability, he makes it so easy. He’s only 6, so we have a lot of time ahead of us, which I am very excited about.
Why you rope: Honestly, there are a few aspects about it, but the main one is the competition. I’ve been in sports and rodeo my whole life, and while we all like to see everyone do well, you also want to do well yourself and to be able to compete. What I love about roping is the competition aspect against yourself. To continually do better is always a challenge, and it’s something to focus on, and I love to push myself to improve every single time. I also enjoy that it’s a sport that I can do with my husband and it’s something we both love.
Competition philosophy:I don’t get nervous, I just don’t think about it. I don’t think about the runs, what the steer will do, or what will happen. I try to let muscle memory and reaction take over. Whatever happens, happens, and I am pretty good about just letting it all be, and going and doing what I know how to do. The funny part is, I get more nervous after the fact, waiting to see what’s going to happen, but during the run, I’m calm, and I think it is something that really helps.
Tell me about your real job: I’m a stay-at-home mom with my 2-year-old daughter, Jordyn. But also, my husband and I, we help run my father’s ranch. I help with all of the different aspects when I have the time. This includes doing the whole cow deal, feeding, watering, and all the different parts. I ride my own colts and we sell a few horses as well. But, being a stay-at-home mom has its own challenges. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work! SWR
Tonya de la Cruz photo