Tammy West-White is the co-owner of Best Ever Pads. She’s also the winningest female team roper in the history of the PRCA.
According to White, it was never her intention to break the mold and, even today, you won’t hear her talk about her roping career as such.
“I just love the sport,” the mom of two said. “My dad, he always said that it’s not a man or a woman. You just go out there and compete and the winning takes care of itself.”
For White, the winning did just that. She’s a multi-year California Circuit finalist and BFI roper. She’s competed in the US Finals Open on multiple occasions and won the Oakdale 10-Steer. Denver, Reno and numerous other top ropings have a place on her dance card, as well.
“Salinas and Pendleton were my all-time favorites,” White said. “They were a blast. For the type of horses I rode, those were two great setups for them. They could just fly. I don’t think I ever got a check at Pendleton, but I made some good runs there. But I did place at Salinas and make the short go. I’ve never placed in the average there. I’ve been close. I placed in a lot of rounds over the years.”
For White, the NFR was never on her list, even though her fellow ropers were always pushing her to take her roping to the next level.
“I never ever had a bad experience,” White emphasized. “Everybody thought I could be there. I won State with Daniel Green. He was trying to get to college rodeo. He always thought I was good enough. I’ll never forget my first one at Denver [where] Al Bach jumped off his horse to push a steer for me. Everyone. Speedy was telling me how to get out. All of them helped me. Everybody was right there.”
In thanks, White put their kindnesses to work and beat them all to the pay window.
“There used to be a huge roping—the Mike Booth Memorial for an NFR team roper friend who passed. I won that with Mark Scobie, and I’ll never forget it because I was high team,” White remembered, laughing. “Speedy and Rich were winning the world and were second. Everybody from the Top 15 was there and we won it.”
At another rodeo, White bumped the bubble boys back a notch in their NFR pursuit.
“I wish I could remember the rodeo names, but there were three guys on the bubble. Those guys were all trying to go and me and Ryan won it,” White said of the feat with her now-husband. “Bobbie, Joe and Turtle were all roping together, and they were like, ‘Are you serious? You just bumped us and we need to make money here.’”
For White, hitting the pavement just never appealed to her.
“The longest we were ever gone was three months, the year I was in the top 50, but we never actually stayed out there. Everybody says I could have [gone.] I probably could. I just never had that in me. I just loved it. I loved to go; I loved to rope. I didn’t even care. I never even set myself goals like that. I just liked to rope and loved horses. Still love horses to this day. I could get up and just ride all day and be completely content.”
The commitment the women in team roping are making today to the sport is impressive to White, but she acknowledges that it’s a different time.
“When I see a girl that ropes good—and there’s a ton of them now—you know they’ve put some hours in because it takes a lot to get good. And, if somebody wanted [the NFR] truly bad enough, they’re capable. But they’re dang sure going to have to be mounted extremely well. There’s that caliber of horse now. I just think the competition is getting better and better every day.”
White’s days look a little different now as she manages Best Ever Pads operations and raises her kids, 16 and 14.
“My kids have just started roping, so now I’m starting to go jackpot,” White said. “Now, it’s more about the kids. I’ll rope with them because I want to win with them. Everybody’s always [asking if] I want to rope, but I’m just like, ‘No, I’m just gonna go with these two.’
“They’re about ready to leave me, which is going to be scary,” White continued. “If they leave me, I’m going to have to buy some horses and do something. I don’t want to drive them nuts.”
Perhaps in preparation, White did make a trip to Reno this June to rope in the Charlie 1 Horse All-Girl.
“I’m actually getting in a truck and going by myself,” she said ahead of the event. “I’m going with a friend, but no kids. It’s just about me. I’m like, ‘Oh boy, here we go again.’”