Allen Bach is a living legend in the roping world. Big Al Bach also rocks romance. Bach married Peggy Parker on October 6, 1978. Four gold buckles, four kids, five grandkids and a record 30 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifications later, these two lovebirds still smooch like a couple of kids who can’t keep their hands off of each other. Allen and Peggy Bach’s now nearly 42-year marriage is a force of nature, especially on the rigorous roller coaster ride called rodeoing for a living. How do they keep cupid on his toes? And how did Allen celebrate the love of his life this Valentine’s Day?
“As we’ve all learned by now, there are rarely any big shortcuts or secrets in life,” said Allen, who’ll be 63 on April 30. “But the word that screams out to me when asked about the success of our marriage is commitment. It doesn’t seem like it means the same nowadays as it did back when we got married. We’ve always stayed committed to each other as life partners, no matter how hard times got from time to time.
“It’s easy for people to bail out. Peggy and I have been through hard times—financial struggles and personal struggles—just like every other married couple. Some people say, ‘Don’t rock the boat,’ but Peggy and I have just always stayed in the boat together and ridden out the storm to smoother waters. I swear that 99-percent commitment doesn’t work. It has to be 100 percent by both people. Bailing out of the boat is easy. Staying in the boat is hard.”
To this day, Allen believes his Peggy was Heaven sent.
“I lost my mom when I was young—when I was 15 years old,” he said. “I asked God to bring the right person into my life who loves God like I do. It was amazing, because I said that prayer when I was living up in Washington. When I left Washington to go out into the world and try to make a living roping, I got to Montana and hooked up with Dennis Tryan (Clay, Travis and Brady’s dad, the NFR heeler), who was actually my first header. That’s when I realized that I needed to start praying for a Christian lady to come into my life. The loss of my mom motivated me to want a Christian like her in my life. I prayed about it every day.
[READ: One on One with Allen Bach]
“I ended up at a roping in Oakdale, California, and met Steve Parker. He invited me to go home with him, to water ski and hang out between ropings and rodeos. Low and behold, He answered my prayers by sending me to 816 Richland Avenue in Ceres. Steve (who passed away last year) had a little sister, Peggy, and we immediately started roping the dummy together while having long conversations about faith and God. The minute I met Peggy, I knew that was it. She was the sweetest, cutest girl I’d ever met. Still is.”
Allen can still rattle off the phone number of Peggy Parker’s teens like it was yesterday.
“Our life has been so full of fun and happiness,” said Allen, who on this day dazzled his Valentine with chocolates, chocolate-covered strawberries, an I Love You balloon and a mushy card. “We love crazy. We’ve had fun through the good and the bad, through all the cool and sometimes chaotic times. I asked God, and Peggy was his answer. How cool is that?”