Allen Bach won world championships in 1979, 1990, 1995 and 2006. The 30-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier and two-time NFR average winner, who currently lives in Boyd, Texas, has mentored many, including a pair of 2013 NFR heelers—Patrick Smith and Paul Eaves.
Kendra Santos: What do you consider the greatest moment of your career?
Allen Bach: Winning five go-rounds in a row with Bobby Hurley (NFR Rounds 6-10 in 1993) always stands out to me as being special. Especially the fifth one, when all of a sudden Bobby had a chance to win the world if we won that fifth one. I was $1,000 behind him and only one champion got crowned that year (before header and heeler world championships), so I didn’t have a chance. That has to be the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
KS: Do you have anything left on your roping bucket list?
AB: I’ve lost a lot of my desire in the last five years. Traveling is hard, as everybody knows, and there are so many expenses. I’ve been putting on a lot of schools and tending to other business. Making the Finals with my son has always been a special bucket list item. Joel and I are going to rodeo together next year.
KS: Your experience is priceless. At 56, are you 100 percent physically?
AB: I’ve had a bad rotator cuff the last five or six years, which has kept me from practicing much. So I just had my arm operated on. I’m really looking forward to getting back to it. The last thing on my bucket list is the first thing on Joel’s—to make the Finals with his dad. So that’s pretty cool.
KS: Who, in your opinion, is the greatest heeler of all time?
AB: Clay O’Brien Cooper
KS: Who is the greatest heel horse of all time, in your eyes?
AB: Dunny. Steve Northcott won the world on him, then I bought him and won a championship on him.
KS: What do you remember most about Patrick Smith back before any of us had ever heard of him?
AB: Patrick was so teachable, and he didn’t question anything. He’s a coach’s perfect player, and he has that special work ethic to go with it. He took everything I said and went on with it.
KS: What about Paul Eaves? What was he like when you first met him?
AB: You could put a mirror on those two guys. They’re exactly the same way. Paul would be out there roping the sawhorse when it was 30 degrees and everybody else was in the house. He knew what he wanted to be.
KS: What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d tell any young person who came to you for words of wisdom?
AB: Find what that dream is in your heart that you’re passionate about and never let anybody steal it. Go at it with reckless abandon. It takes that kind of walking the tightrope without a net.
KS: Is there one most memorable mentoring moment for you?
AB: The most exciting moment of my life as a coach was when Clay (Tryan) and Patrick had a chance at the world championship, and not only had to win the round but had to break the arena record (in 2005). I had just roped, so was at the end of the arena, between the two bucking chutes. They try to get you out of there, so I had to ignore them hollering at me. I was standing there by (ProRodeo Hall of Famer) Benny Reynolds, who works that gate every year. It was a flashback in time. (Clay, Travis and Brady’s dad) Dennis Tryan was my very first partner that I traveled with. At one point he said, “I’ve taught Clay everything I know to teach him, can I send him to spend the winter with you in Arizona to finish him off?” Clay spent three months roping with me, and Clay Cooper had come through my place, so Clay Tryan got a chance to rope with him. That started his career out. Then Patrick stayed with me off and on for a couple years. Then there I was at the back end of the NFR arena watching both of them rope to win the world. They had to do something unbelievable to win it, and they did it. What an amazing feeling.