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The Brown Mare Named Gypsy Who’s Made the Roping Rounds
"If you get a good start, plan to use your rope and don’t draw the worst steer in the herd, she’s going to let you win."
Brady Tryan’s gritty Gypsy helped him and Calgary Smith put the hurt on the team roping record books at the 2023 Canadian Finals Rodeo. | CFR Photo by Chantelle Bowman

Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith dominated the 2023 Canadian Finals Rodeo up in Red Deer, Alberta in November to also win their first Canadian Professional Rodeo Association team roping titles in record fashion. After finishing second in the first two rounds, they swept the final four and daylighted the field in the six-steer average. Tryan was quick to credit his head horse—the 15-year-old brown mare they call Gypsy, who could not be more aptly named.

“The Canadian Finals went as good as a guy could have dreamed it would go,” said Tryan, 34, who calls Huntley, Montana, home.

That’s a fact. Tryan and Smith, who’s from Oregon, set five Canadian records at the 49th annual CFR, including the new 3.5-second fast-time record, which was matched by Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler in Round 3; the 24.3 on six CFR average record; the $62,837 per man CFR team roping earnings record; and the $91,493 annual CPRA team roping earnings record. Winning four straight rounds like they did also was without precedent.

It was Tryan’s second CFR, after head-ing at the first one in 2018 for Canadian cowboy Kasper Roy. The Canadian titles were a first for both Tryan and Smith, who rode his sorrel heel horse, Colonel.

About that head horse, though. Gypsy might not have any registration papers, but she’s definitely Grade A, and has helped a lot of headliner headers do some serious winning.

“Lightning Aguilera, Kaleb Driggers, Kolton Schmidt and Clay (Tryan; in 2010, Clay, Travis and Brady Tryan became the first and only set of three brothers to rope at the same NFR) all owned Gypsy before I did,” said Brady, who headed for Jake Long at the 2010 and ’11 NFRs. “I rode her at 60 of the 65 rodeos I went to in 2023, and reached at all but two of them. She just kept letting me do it. That’s what’s cool about her.

“If you get a good start on Gypsy, she’s going to give you a good go and a chance to win. So that was my whole plan at the CFR. The go-rounds pay really good there, especially the first three holes. We had one of the fastest teams (Tee McLeod and Brady Chappel) ahead of us, and the fastest team in Canada, the Graham brothers, right behind us every round. So I knew I had to be aggressive. There was no backing off, because those guys’ll beat you.”

Tryan admits Gypsy isn’t the horse for Salinas or Cheyenne.

“But that arena in Red Deer is tight, so I want her headed out as soon as the head rope goes on there,” Brady said. “I barely turned off when we were practicing the month before the CFR, because I just wanted Gypsy thinking about running to the steer. To get through six rounds like that—she was insane.”

Brady bought Gypsy from big brother Clay last May. He’d only ridden her in the summer of 2022—when Clay Smith got hurt and Brady got the call to fill in for Long at a few rodeos—then at a week of Northwest rodeos that fall when he roped with Calgary.

“Gypsy’s just a winner,” said Brady, who went to 65 rodeos in 2023—mostly Canadian and Montana Circuit rodeos. “If you get a good start, plan to use your rope and don’t draw the worst steer in the herd, she’s going to let you win. I think it’s pretty cool that those guys who used to ride her will pet her on the head when I ride by.”

Tryan and Smith will see what 2024 looks like after the winter run, and take it from there.

“I’m kind of a ‘see how it goes guy’ at this time in my life,” Brady said. “I have a wife (Callahan) and two little kids (daughter Oakley turned 3 in December, and son Tee’s still a baby). And rodeoing hard means being gone.”

Callahan and her barrel horse Brownie won the 2018 CFR average and Canadian title the same way Brady did in 2023, placing second in two rounds, winning four others and the average, and setting round and average records, among others.

“We love Red Deer,” Brady said. “We’re sad the CFR is leaving.”

The 50th annual CFR will be held in Edmonton and will be five rounds instead of six. Team roping was added to the CFR in 2000, and the event’s had equal money since 2017. TRJ

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