Marcus Theriot is no newcomer to winning. The 23-year-old timed eventer from Poplarville, Mississippi, earned eight national titles—four in junior high, two in high school and two in college—on his rise up the rodeo ranks. Marcus, who’s the son of 1994 World Champion Tie-Down Roper Herbert Theriot and his wife, Renee, banked $100,000 in March for the W at the Lazy E Arena’s Cinch Timed Event Championship.
Q: What’s life like in Poplarville, Mississippi?
A: It’s pretty easygoing. There are a lot of people who used to amateur rodeo who live around here. With guys like my dad and Frank Graves living here, it’s one of the big rodeo towns in the Southeast.
Q: Was there ever a doubt about what you’d do for a living?
A: No. I don’t think there’s ever been a question about that. My dad rodeoed for a living. At 15-16, I started making a pretty decent living at the amateur rodeos, jackpots and junior rodeos. There was never a thought of doing anything different.
Q: What are your most and least favorite parts of the professional rodeo trail?
A: My favorite part is just getting to rodeo. I love it. I love everything about it, and being at all different setups. The traveling’s definitely my least favorite part, but you’ve got to give a little to get a little.
Q: Now that you’ve had a little time to reflect on the 2021 Timed Event Championship, what stands out most to you?
A: Until you win that event, there’s always that thought where you wonder, “Will I ever get it pulled off?” The money’s great. But knowing that I’ve actually won it is a great, great feeling.
Q: Did you do anything special with the money?
A: Not yet. I did buy another head horse. He’s a 12-year-old red roan. I think they called him Sancho, but that name hasn’t stuck yet. I don’t love that name, but I also don’t love changing horses’ names.
Q: When you were 18, you actually turned down an invite to compete at the Jr Ironman at the Lazy E, and opted into the Timed Event with the big dogs. What do you remember now about that decision?
A: We’d had a call a few months before that I was on the alternate list for the big one. They called me about the Jr Ironman, but I was dead set on getting into the Timed Event. I was super excited when I got the call that I was in. I kind of took a chance, and it paid off. I got to go that year and won sixth. I’ve been loving it ever since.
Q: In what ways has your dad influenced your career that you find most advantageous?
A: Definitely the part about being positive in every situation. Positive thinking brings positive results. The longer I’ve been out here rodeoing, the more you see that. There are a lot of things that don’t go perfectly. There’s no great outcome in being negative, and being negative fixes nothing. It costs nothing to stay positive in all situations, and it pays off.
Q: Who else has been key in your early career?
A: (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo header) Frank Graves lives right down the road, and has helped me a lot. He’s one of the more confident people as far as winning goes. Frank’s way of looking at things has always been, “No matter where you go, you rope good enough.” We don’t really talk about it, but Frank was kind of in his prime when I was young, and he was one of the guys I studied. He always expected to win, and I looked up to that.
Q: You’re roping with your cousin Cole Curry in 2021. What do you like most about your partnership?
A: We’re both pretty young, and neither one of us has made the Finals. We’re both pretty hungry to make the Finals, and we have the same goals. We know we’re both trying our best. And if we don’t see eye-to-eye on something, we have a great way of changing the situation without any hard feelings.
Q: What’s your favorite event, and why?
A: I love to bulldog. I’m not saying it’s my best event, but when the steers are good, I love it. I had a good head horse right out of high school, and that seemed to be what I was winning the most in. So I kind of stuck with that, and have a lot of eggs in that basket. The bulldogging horse I’m riding now—Rango—was actually a head horse Kaleb Driggers had. We’re partners on him now, and he was meant to be a bulldogging horse. I enter the team roping and the bulldogging at some of the bigger rodeos, and all three events at most of them.
Q: Your dad roped calves and bulldogged at the NFR. Does it bother him that the calf roping’s not your favorite, too?
A: He was always so good at the calf roping and bulldogging, and never really worked at the team roping. So I’d kiddingly say that as long as my favorite event isn’t the team roping, my dad doesn’t care which one I like best.
Q: What are your goals as a professional rodeo cowboy?
A: Definitely to make the Finals and win the world. Every cowboy who buys a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) card says that, and it’s true. Of course to get that done, a guy’s got to have a little luck and a lot of determination. I would love to win the all-around. I think there’s a big gap in the world all-around race right now. I would also definitely like to have a long career in the team roping. The team roping is the best event, because there are so many jackpots and so many ropers now. The horse industry is better in the team roping, and you’re definitely looking at a way longer career in the team roping than any of the other events.
Q: What are the most important lessons your first five years on the rodeo trail have taught you?
A: Definitely to keep your confidence. Things can turn around at any moment for the good or the bad, and you have to take the good with the bad. It’s not easy out there. Stay positive, and stay at ’em.