At Home With

Garrett Tonozzi: Raising Horses and Family
With a young family, young horses and new business, Garrett Tonozzi has plenty of irons in the fire.
Garrett Tonozzi turning one for Jace Davis at the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Montana.
Garrett Tonozzi turning one for Jace Davis at the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Montana. | Avid Visual imagery

Garrett Tonozzi is a two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo header who now has a family and has moved beyond the full-time rodeo road. He’s married to Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, who in 2023 won her third world barrel racing title in record fashion. The nephew of nine-time NFR heeler Bret Tonozzi, Garrett—who will turn 39 on March 22—outside the arena served as a longtime team roping event rep, just like Uncle Bret.

Q: You headed for Brady Minor at the 2006 NFR, and Kinney Harrell at the Finals in 2008. What stands out about each of those trips to Rodeo’s Super Bowl all these years later?

A: Just the fun times that came with them both. I was young, and having a lot of fun. It was an exciting time, for sure.

Q: Why did you pull up from the full-time rodeo road?

A: Tinlee (Garrett and Brittany’s little girl, who’ll be 7 on March 21) was the No.1 thing. I can hardly be away from her for a week without going crazy, and we have a lot of irons in the fire. Brittany and I started Conquer Equine, which is a horse rehab facility, a couple years ago, and it keeps both of us really busy. Riding and training young horses is a full-time job in itself for both of us. 

Q: What else are you up to these days?

A: Raising and riding young horses, mostly. Brittany and I are raising barrel racing and team roping prospects. They’re barrel-horse bred, but I rope on all of them. The offspring of our mare Streakin Six Babe have won over $1.2 million, which is more than any other mare in the barrel-horse industry. Her babies are so cool. 

Q: What did you love most and least about roping for a living?

A: I loved the camaraderie, getting to be around my friends all the time and competing day in and day out. What I liked least about roping for a living was being away from home and driving 80,000 miles a year. To try and make the NFR, you have to live and breathe it every single day. You’re either working at it, or you’re driving. That George Strait song “A Showman’s Life”, where he says, “Nobody told me about this part,” reminds me of rodeoing.

Q: Who have been the most influential people in your roping career and life?

A: The biggest influence on my roping career would be Uncle Bret, no doubt. He taught me a lot about roping, and showed me how to rodeo. He took me out there my rookie year, and taught me how to enter, which rodeos to enter, how to get to them, and how to set up runs of rodeos, so you could work five in a weekend. Getting to watch Bret and his NFR roper friends rope every day helped me a lot. 

The biggest influences on my life would have to be my granddad (Tony Tonozzi, who just died in January) and my mom, Michelle (who is Bret’s sister). Grandpa Tony taught me so much about just being a man, and had five horses saddled every day when I got home from school. Mom was a single mom who taught me what hard work is. She lived her whole life for me, and that makes a kid feel pretty special. 

Q: You and your girls now live in Lampasas, Texas, but you grew up in Colorado. What do you miss most about your native Centennial State?

A: I’d have to say I miss my family and friends I grew up with the most. My whole life was in Colorado until I started rodeoing. We’re lucky to still have a place in Colorado, and to still get to spend some time there. But it’s tough to beat Texas when it comes to roping and rodeo. There’s everything you could want to go to every week. It’s amazing, and the weather’s usually pretty good, too.  

Q: With you both being so busy, talk about you and Brittany’s parenting strategy when it comes to Miss Tinlee.

A: A lot of the time we take turns riding and hanging out with Tinlee. I came home the first of August last summer, because Tinlee started first grade. Brittany was wanting to come home, but I told her to stay out there to try to get the record. I’m really glad she did, because she set new regular-season and annual-earnings records, and had an amazing year. 

Q: Tell us about Tinlee, who already looks like the second coming of her cowgirl momma in the making.

A: Tinlee is like a little mini Brittany. She loves horses, and she’s a rule follower, like her mom. Her personality is so much fun. I took her to Steamboat Springs every week last summer, and Tinlee and her pony Chocolate Chip were the fan favorites. They have a pee-wee barrel race, and Tinlee and Chip won the series buckle. She was so stoked. Tinlee already studies it, and rides just like her mom. 

Garrett, Tinlee 
and Brittany Tonozzi on horseback
It’s family first for Garrett, Tinlee and Brittany. | Tonozzi family photo

Q: What were your roping goals in the beginning, and do you have one now?

A: When I was a kid, my No.1 goal was to win a gold buckle. My goal now is to raise and train really good head horses, and to try and win as much money as I can everywhere I go. 

Q: How much do you rope today, and what kind of events are you most likely to enter?

A: I ride young horses every day of the week, and rope a few times a week. I still claim the Mountain States Circuit, and go to some pro rodeos and a few amateur rodeos here and there. I also try to go to all the big open ropings. I’m kind of a free agent right now when it comes to partners because I don’t go all the time. 

Q: How closely do you follow team roping today, and who’s the header you consider the best watching out there right now? 

A: I still follow it very closely. Kaleb Driggers is as good with a head rope as anybody I’ve seen over the past 20 years. He came into rodeo as a bomber, and has evolved into using his horses to rope the horns better. He can also still throw his whole rope anytime he wants. I haven’t seen very many guys like that, and today’s head-horse market runs through him. Whether he’s buying or selling, the majority of horse deals go through Driggers. 

Q: You were the team roping event rep for several years starting in 2010. What are you most proud of about your time representing all professional team ropers?

A: That we got equal money at several big rodeos, like Fort Worth, that didn’t have it before. 

Q: How far do you feel the sport of team roping has come in your lifetime, and do you see room for more progress moving forward? 

A: Speed Williams changed the heading game. Then here came guys like Driggers and Dustin Egusquiza. Over the past 10 years, several heelers have changed the heeling game, too. It used to be that heelers were just catching the steer. Now guys like Junior (Nogueira) and Jake Long are throwing as fast as you can, and their catching percentage is just as high as the catchers. It’s really sped up team roping. There’s always room for progress in any sport, it’s just hard to see where that would be right now. 

Q: Broncos or Cowboys?

A: Broncos, a million percent. I’m a born-and-raised Broncos fan. The last few years have been hard on me, but I’m a diehard Broncos fan.

—TRJ—

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