Tucker Menz, 22, is in the driver's seat of the 2021 Resistol Rookie Heading race with $11,345.74 and made his way inside the top 50 of the PRCA world standings sitting 49th, as of July 16. The young Texan is heading for Louisianan Cole Curry.
Casey Allen: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Your background? How did you get started roping?
Tucker Menz: I grew up in Boerne, Texas, down by San Antonio. My dad has always rode horses and roped. He’s kind of the one that got me into it. My dad is a very good horseman. He has taught me a lot about how to fix problems and address certain kinds of horses. That’s where I’ve learned everything about horses in my life. I amateur rodeoed for a long time and had been kind of playing around in Texas at the pro rodeos. I wasn’t planning on buying my card this year until I qualified for (RFD-TV’s) The American. Whenever I qualified for The American, I went ahead and bought my card. Cole (Curry) and I decided that we wanted to try it on and started entering together.
CA: You added $3,315 to your earnings this last week. Can you walk me through that? Was there anything exciting that happened at those rodeos?
TM: The last couple rodeos have been pretty good to us. We went to Hamel (Minnesota) and were first out in the first round. We knew we drew a strong steer. I’ve never been to that rodeo before, didn’t really know what it’s normally like there or have any feel for the barrier. I really just wanted to do my job, get the steer caught. We were a little longer than we wanted to be on our first one, but knew we had a good chance to win something in the average. It paid off. We drew a really good one in the second round, and I pretty much just went out and caught him, then let Cole heel him fast.
CA: How did you end up roping with Resistol Rookie Heeling contender, Cole Curry?
TM: Through some mutual friends. I needed a run to come out and start the summer off. I got to calling around and talked to Cole a little bit about kind of a game plan, and what I was wanting to do. It seemed like our game plans were on the right track and decided to try it on.
CA: What is that game plan looking like? What are your goals for this year?
TM: My goal is to just do my job. It’s my first year out here. The hardest part for me coming out here is I don’t know any of these setups. I’m not used to any of these rodeos. Obviously, you can get all the information you want on the steers, on the barrier, you can ask people; you can look at videos. Really until you back in the box and nod your head, if you’ve never been to that rodeo it makes it hard. My goal is for me to come out and do my job every single run. Cole and I aren’t gonna be first place everywhere. My job is just to get out, spin the steer, and Cole heels them quickly. It makes my job really easy. All I’ve have to do is get out and put it on the horns. If I can give him a good handle and set him up he makes me look good.
CA: What’s your horsepower look like this year?
TM: I have two horses with me right now. My good horse is Cajun Treat, “Cajun.” He’s a 10-year-old gelding. I got him at the end of last year, he’s my No. 1. I pretty much ride him everywhere. My second horse is Lee’s Friendly Dancer, “Bullfrog.” I actually just got him before I came out here for the summer. He’s a 14-year-old gelding. He’s something that I can count on if I don’t want to ride Cajun. If the conditions are bad or he gets a little sore I have Bullfrog to back him up.
CA: Is there anything special about Cajun? What is his style?
TM: He listens to me very well. I’ve rode a lot of different horses, and I’ve never been on a horse that lets me score the same as him. He scores so well and is always ready to fire. It’s incredible. When the gates bang, he doesn’t move. I can just sit there and do what I want to do, and throttle him out when I want to. That’s probably his best feature—his scoring. I’ve struggled in the past with finding the right horse or trying to find the right mentality to go through rodeoing. Up until this past year, I didn’t feel like I would really be able to compete. The big difference for me was the horse. Until I bought Cajun, I didn’t really feel like I could compete against the top 15 in the world and go out and win.
CA: Did you just catch your momentum when you started roping with Cole? What has your season looked like so far?
TM: We didn’t really rope together until right before Reno (Nevada). We went to a couple rodeos right before Reno, before we left for the summer. We started entering heavy right off the bat. We didn’t really have a lot of time to prepare or practice; we just jumped into it.
CA: What do you do when things get tough, or when you aren’t winning?
TM: It’s a lot different being out here, going to multiple rodeos a week. It’s so easy to not win. That’s what is amazing about this sport. Whenever we started over the fourth (of July) we made, I don’t know how many good runs in a row, and maybe only picked up one check. That wears on you. We made a fantastic run at Greeley (Colorado). We were one-tenth out. We made a really good run on a strong steer at Cody (Wyoming), we were like half a second out. We made a really good run at Oakley City (Utah), we were 4.1, and I think we split seventh and eighth. Mentally, it’s hard to go out and make good runs and still not be winning like you want to. The biggest thing for me is if I can stick to my game plan and not worry about the times, that’s what gets me through it. You can go make all the good runs you want and you still might not win. For me, as long as I can go do my job and set my man up to heel him fast, I’m satisfied at the end of the day. Obviously, the goal is to make the NFR and win the Resistol Rookie. There’s a lot of big goals, but I have to take it day by day and manage my expectations.
CA: What’s your favorite experience so far on the road this year?
TM: That’s a hard one. It’s all cool. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but it’s hard to beat Reno. The big grandstands on the left, Bob Tallman is announcing your name. Reno’s probably my favorite so far.
CA: Any essentials that you have to have with you?
TM: For me, a Redbull and blue Doritos will get me through most drives, maybe some pretzels. For my horses, lots of fly spray. There are plenty of flies at these rodeos.
CA: What would winning the Resistol Rookie title mean to you?
TM: It would be a huge confidence boost for me. To come out of my first year and win the Resistol Rookie, I mean that’s something nobody can ever take away from you. I’ve always struggled at the rodeos for a long time, but I feel like everything’s starting to come together for me. I’m starting to find my run. To get to the end of the year and look up and say “Hey, I accomplished something,”. It would mean a lot to me.
CA: I see you’re sponsored by Fast Back Ropes. What is your favorite rope to use?
TM: My go to is the Fast Back Ropes Excalibur head rope in soft. It stays very good in the heat. A lot of these rodeos are very hot. It holds up well and stays true. It’s really a middle of the road rope. It is very balanced, a good size, got some tip weight, but not too much that you can’t control it.