Thanks to huge hits in the early going of the 2019 season, seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo heeler Kyle Lockett looks to be headed to NFR #8 this December. You’ll get to read all about that and how it happened in The Team Roping Journal’s June issue. If you watch rodeo results, you may also have noticed that the world heeling standings leader’s name has been popping up in three events, with an occasional all-around title on top. Why, you ask?
“I’ve always enjoyed working all the timed events at the circuit rodeos,” said Lockett, 41, who’s been cruising Cali in the motorhome with his wife, Leigh, and kids, Shayla, Georgia, Sutton and Blevins. “I’m not as young or as quick as I used to be, but it’s still fun for me. If I was 50th in the world I would still be entering the calf roping and steer wrestling out here, because I still like to rope calves and bulldog.
“If I quit doing it, I might not be able to do it anymore. It’s kind of like that old horse you can get three or four more years out of if you don’t quit him. If you keep riding him, he stays limber. If you quit riding him, he’s done.”
Despite his windfall wins at such cash-cow cowboy winter destinations as Houston and San Angelo, Texas, Lockett still loads up a lot of mornings he’s not headed to the next one to day work for rancher friends and neighbors near his Visalia, California home. Here’s the thing: You aren’t going to change Kyle Lockett. Thank goodness.
Sure, he’s a tough team roper. But Kyle’s a cowboy first. He’s been heeling for Lane Karney at the circuit rodeos and will rope with him at the Reno Rodeo and BFI, too, before Lane heads to the Northwest to head for Bucky Campbell this summer. Kyle heels on his horses Itchy and Stinky. He’s been borrowing bulldogging rides from friends like Stan Branco and Tucker Allen.
Kyle’s been roping calves on Lane’s bay head and heel horse—ranchy, Kyle-style baling-twine keeper and all. Lane’s headed, hazed and heeled (including at the Timed Event in recent years) on Orejas, and brother Taylor added tie-down to his repertoire in Texas this winter. Kyle plans to participate in his own fourth event later this year, when he’ll throw his name in the steer roping hat on the grass at the Pendleton Round-Up.
For those of you speculating about whether or not Kyle’s got his eye on the world all-around race—which requires a minimum of $3,000 won in a second event to be eligible—well, that’s not really it.
“I don’t have a big all-around goal or anything,” he said. “If I happen to win $3,000 in a second event, fine. But I’m not out there shooting for that. I don’t really like just sitting around watching at a rodeo. And the entry fees are the cheapest thing, so why not get in it, especially when you have a decent chance of winning something?”
For those of you with short memories, Kyle was the all-around champ at the 2006 California Rodeo in Salinas, and in 2010 took the all-around victory lap around the track at 100th annual Pendleton Round-Up. He’s also a two-time Timed Event Championship titlist, having conquered the ironman mountain at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in both 2005 and 2011.
“Entering multiple events won’t hurt when it comes time to go back to the Timed Event,” Lockett said. “It’s better to stay at it than to just back in there in all the events once a year in March. I’m old school. You go to the rodeo and you do it all.”