Smith, Snow and Thorp:How the Pros are Handling the “Shelter in Place” Order
Cabin fever is for real, and cowboys have been living it like all Americans. Recent coronavirus-related cancellations of ropings and rodeos have forced team ropers to “shelter in place,” and have put income-earning opportunities on hold. And yet, our cowboy community marches on, determined as always to make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt. Here’s how 2018-19 World Champion Header Clay Smith, 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Heading Champ Cody Snow and 2019 World Champion Heeler Wesley Thorp—who won the world and the NFR heeling for Snow—have been spending their time away from the rodeo trail.

Clay Smith

I’ve been staying home in Bowie, Texas, with my wife, Taylor, and son, Jade, who just turned 2 on April 23. We have a baby girl due on June 9. I haven’t been worried about myself, but the possibility of anything happening to Taylor, little Jade or the baby are scary thoughts, so we’ve been being extra careful.

Taylor’s a good cook, so we don’t go out to eat much anyway. She usually does the grocery shopping, but here lately I’ve been the guy who goes to town and scores the food. We stay home as much as possible and rope a lot, and don’t go into many big crowds. We’ve always tried to wash our hands a lot, but we’ve amped it up even more with this virus out of control.

The Smiths—Clay, Jade and Taylor—are expecting the addition of a baby girl to their family next month. Meanwhile, Jade’s been learning to fly solo on his pony, Ice Cream.undefined
Courtesy Smith Family

[SHOP: Clay Smith’s Team Roping Essentials]

Rattler Ropes

Resistol Cowboy Hats

ADM Animal Nutrition 50 Lbs. Powerglo Pellet

(As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made through affiliate links.)

The way my family and I have been looking at this whole coronavirus situation is that if the rodeos are shut down, it’s way bigger than rodeo. If we can’t go anywhere, roping and rodeo are the least of our worries. This is beyond rodeo. Maybe God’s using this situation to get us lined out and remind us to get our priorities straight. We believe God has the best outcome in mind, so we put our faith in Him.

The only thing this situation has really changed for us is that it’s kept me home more. Other than that, our routine really hasn’t changed much. Things definitely need to line out, so we can all get back after it. But this down time and getting to just be home has been a blessing. Being home is not a bad thing, especially if you don’t dwell on all the nerve-racking bad news on TV. It’ll all turn around.

[Read: The 4 Elements of Roping World Champ Clay Smith Teaches at His Schools]

In the meantime, Jade’s been learning to ride his pony, Ice Cream, all by himself. He loves tractors, talks in full sentences, can count to 10, loves books, has the best memory, and he about has his ABCs whipped. It amazes me how sharp he is, and it’s fun to get to see all of this for myself. The rainy days have been hard at times. It’s like caging up a panther who wants out. But we’ve been having a lot of fun.

Jade (Corkill) and I had planned on entering the spring rodeos and ropings in California this year, and were excited about that. Since they were canceled, we’ve just been making the best of it. It’s given me time to get caught up on my colt riding. I love riding young horses. We’ve also been able to rope in some small jackpots, which lets us compete a little and stay sharp.

We’re looking forward to hopefully getting to go back to work at the BFI and Reno (Rodeo) next month. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy being a husband and dad, keeping horses ridden, roping and teaching a few private schools. I love talking to people about roping, and it’s been helping feed us for a while.

Cody Snow

I’ve been hanging out at my place in Stephenville (Texas) with my girlfriend, Kacey Lowery, and friend, Dillon Wingereid. We’ve been practicing here at the house and over at J.B. James’ place. I’ve just been trying to get all the stuff done that I’ve wanted to work on and hadn’t had time to do. I’ve been working on the little things I’ve had in my mind that I wanted to apply to my roping.

[SHOP: Cody Snow’s Team Roping Gear]

Classic Powerline Lite Soft

Resistol Black Gold Felt

Cactus Relentless All-Around Sport Boots

All this time off has kind of been like a vacation. The extra time has given me the chance to slow things down and try to get my horses perfect. I’ve been cleaning my place up a little bit, too. I don’t go to town a lot anyway, so that hasn’t changed and we mostly eat at the house. I was looking forward to going home to California for the spring, but since that didn’t happen I’ve just made the most of the time at my place in Texas. We’ve all basically taken a big time out.

Austin Robertson did come up with a creative way to let us continue to compete. He’ll have a roping where he lets four teams rope per hour. So we might rope from 9-10 a.m., then the next set of guys comes in and ropes from 10-11 a.m. He doesn’t tell anyone how the others have done, and at the end of the day there’s a winner. They aren’t big ropings, but it’s somewhere to go and something to do, so we’ve appreciated it.

[Read: Snow and Nogueira Pair Up in Rodeo’s Newest Partner Swap]

Wesley Thorp

I’ve been at home in Stephenville with my wife, Susanna, and our little boys. Matthew will be 3 on June 30, and Charlie just turned 1 on April 9. It’s been pretty slow on the roping front, so I’ve just been roping around home with friends and going to some of Austin Robertson’s ropings where we all rope in different, staggered time slots. There have been a few little round-robin ropings to go to some mornings, too.

I haven’t been too worried about being temporarily out of work. Instead, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the extra time. I needed some time to work on my roping and horses, and this is a good time to enjoy being home with my family and not getting caught up in the old rat race. It’s been good for me to not be wrapped up in how hectic this lifestyle can be at times.

The Thorp family—Wesley, Susanna, Matthew and Charlie—have been home in Stephenville, where Wesley’s been getting to see his boys’ latest new tricks on a daily basis.undefined
Courtesy Thorp Family

[SHOP: Wesley Thorp’s Team Roping Gear]


Classic NV4 Heel Rope

We’re all kind of guessing at this point that we might be able to be back at it by Reno in June. I’ve looked at the break as an opportunity, and have done the best I can to take advantage of the time off. It’s been fun spending more time with my wife and kids. They play outside all day and get into about everything. Being home to see that has been nice. The kids are growing so fast and change so much every day, so getting to experience this time with them has been cool.

[Read: No Wasted Motion with Wesley Thorp]

I think a lot of guys are getting a big appreciation for what stay-at-home moms do. Matthew likes to rope all day now. He ropes inside, outside and sometimes it gets him into trouble, like when he ropes his little brother. Charlie started walking at about 10 months, so he’s off and running everywhere now and is into everything. I’ve been too busy to be bummed out. I’m going to have to start rodeoing, so I can get some rest. The Fourth of July might feel like a day off this year. 

Related Articles
Ketch Kelton won his second straight Jr Ironman at the Lazy E in March.
At Home with
Ketch Kelton: Big Dreams, Small Towns and Good Horses
Lane Mitchell heeling at The Daddy in Cheyenne
At Home With
Lane Mitchell Talks 2024, the NFR Bubble and Motivation
SJR Diamond Billy
BFI or Bust
NOPE, Different Buckskin: Cody Snow to Debut Southern Ranches' Futurity Standout SJR Diamond Billy at Bob Feist Invitational
American Rodeo Team Roping
American Dreams
What's The American Rodeo Team Roping Draw? (Plus How to Watch, Payout Details and More)
Garrett Tonozzi turning one for Jace Davis at the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge, Montana.
At Home With
Garrett Tonozzi: Raising Horses and Family