At press time, mere days before regular season’s end, Cole Curry of Liberty, Mississippi, looked to be headed to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo next month (spoiler alert: he’s headed to Vegas). Curry, 23, has had a breakthrough season this year heeling for fellow Mississippi native and family member Marcus Theriot. Also, Congratulations to newlywed Cole and his brand new bride, Lani Simmons Curry—just married in Clinton, Louisiana, on October 14!
Q: OK, let’s cut to the chase—how are you and Marcus related?
A: Marcus’s dad’s sister (Lisa Theriot Curry) married my dad’s brother (Charles Curry). I’m not sure what you call Marcus and me, but we’re like brothers.
Q: Tell us about your immediate family.
A: My mom and dad are David and Resa Curry, and I have three little sisters, Colby Ellen, Cloe and Charlsey Rai.
Q: How long have you been heeling, and who’s had the most influence on your roping career?
A: I’ve been heeling most of my roping days, which started when I was big enough to ride. I’d say my dad’s had the most impact. My dad has a cattle-order business, and I grew up doctoring calves with him in the pasture. I wasn’t big enough to do the heading, so I did the heeling.
Q: Do you have one single favorite career highlight so far?
A: No, it feels like it’s been one big journey. The biggest eye-opener was the good winter we had this year. We placed at almost all the major buildings, and that was the biggest turning point for us. It set us up for the summer, and made big things possible.
Q: Did you grow up roping with Marcus?
A: I did not. We started roping together a little bit about four years ago at some jackpots and a few amateur rodeos. Then in 2021, we college rodeoed together and went to a few pro rodeos. We teamed back up in 2022, and have been roping together full time since then. That’s when we really got serious about wanting to make the Finals together as a team. We came up a little short, but both finished in the top 30 last year. We’ve learned that rodeoing is definitely something you have to work at religiously.
Q: A few short years ago, I’d have said team roping was third in line for Marcus after the tie-down and steer wrestling. Did you strong-arm him into prioritizing the team roping?
A: I wouldn’t say that. The team roping is a little bit easier on his body, and Marcus has had a few injuries. Narrowing down his events also helped him excel more in the one.
Q: Do you see roping with a family member as an advantage, or added pressure?
A: I think it’s an advantage for us because we have a very good friendship and partnership. There’s no holding back. Whether it’s going good or bad, we’re pretty straightforward with each other.
Q: Do you and Marcus travel together or in separate rigs?
A: We travel together. He would rather drive at night, and I’d rather drive in the early morning and daytime. That works out pretty well for both of us.
Q: What’s the secret sauce to your team?
A: Marcus does a really good job of having steers heel-able pretty fast, and I like to be a little more aggressive. He does a great job of setting steers up to rope them where I like to rope them.
Q: Have you grown up watching a favorite heeler?
A: I grew up watching Jade (Corkill) mostly. Here recently, Kollin VonAhn has helped me a lot with my positioning around the corner. He showed me how to keep my distance around and through the corner, so I’m in position to rope when I hit the corner and am not too far to the inside.
Q: Was there one moment or run when you realized you might finally be over the NFR hump?
A: Our short-round run at Ellensburg is what I think was the hump. I personally cannot get comfortable out here, because there are so many good teams who can beat you every week. When you get comfortable, you get beat.
Q: Why is this the year?
A: We’ve both had a really good horse—Marcus’s red roan, Swalo, and my gray, Repo—and we now have a run we can make a lot. Those two horses have definitely been game-changers for us.
Q: What will you ride at the Finals if you get there?
A: I would love to ride Repo if he’s back. If not, I haven’t fully made my decision yet. Repo got hurt when I was practicing at Scott Repp’s house during Ellensburg, and has been dealing with a collateral ligament injury on his back right hock. He’s been having therapy at Outlaw Equine in Decatur (Texas), and if anybody’s able to get him ready by December, it’ll be Josh Harvey and Jaci Lott Myers.
Q: What do you like to do in your own downtime?
A: I like to fish, and deer and hog hunt.
Q: How well is your team’s run suited to the Thomas & Mack?
A: I’d like to think it’s very well-suited. But we’ve never roped in that atmosphere, so you can’t really know what to expect.
Q: Has anyone started prepping you for what it might be like in Vegas?
A: We watched all of Bubba Buckaloo’s NFR runs the other day and were asking him what it’s like. That’s the only prep we’ve had so far. TRJ