By Speed Williams
The last year and a half has been interesting, to say the least. About 18 months ago, I was teaching a school at Chad Havens’ in south Texas. I met a man who’d flown there in his own jet, who wanted to learn to rope and ride. After a few lessons he wanted to hire me full time.
I turned him down and explained that I liked the freedom of setting my own schedule and being able to spend time with my family. He said, “Move your family to Center, Texas, and I’ll build your dream arena. Your only job will be to teach me, and you won’t have to leave home unless you want to.”
After talking to my wife, he was right, I couldn’t turn him down.
A major consideration for me was the injury I had sustained two years ago at the USTRC Finals, when I experienced severe pain in my neck. After my trusted chiropractor, Shawn Scott, ordered an MRI, he informed me I had a bulging disk. He said I could ignore it, wait until it moved and ultimately have surgery. Or I could rest completely for 90 days and see how it mended. The risk of further injury, and the thought of a surgery, where they would go in through my throat, did not appeal to me. Ninety days without roping and riding didn’t sound too bad. But when that’s all you’ve done all your life, along with the possibility of not ever getting to do it again… it was a very sobering thought.
So when Terry Bailey made me an offer most of us only dream about, I couldn’t turn it down. We sold our place in DeLeon and moved to Center, Texas. I enjoyed working with Terry. He was very competitive and challenged me constantly about why we did things a certain way. I soon realized that was one reason he was so successful. Terry and his wife were killed in a helicopter crash on Valentine’s Day this year. He had flown them to Shreveport for dinner and we’re still not sure exactly what happened. Our family thought the world of them and we miss them terribly.
After leaving Center, we spent some time at T2 Arena in Orange, Texas, where Chad Havens offered the use of his arena while we looked for a place of our own. Hurricane Harvey sent us packing and we are now back in north central Texas, near Santo, while we continue to look for a place and while I get back to teaching and offering remote training via speedroping.com.
We just got back from the USTRC Finals. I didn’t win anything but my neck didn’t hurt and I felt like I roped like I did 15 years ago.
My daughter, Hali, had an outstanding Finals. She is 13 years old and a #5. She won $44,000 overall by placing in the #13, winning the #11 Shoot Out, and placing in the #9. My son, Gabe, also roped there for the first time. He headed for his mom and sister in the #8 and did a great job. He thinks he needs to come over the gate and swing just twice on every steer. We discussed the importance of catching, but I told him if he was out of the average he could come over the gate with it.
I’m very excited about the series of videos I’m currently working on that show the basic fundamentals I’ve taught Hali that gives her a high percentage catch ratio. Hali has started Junior Rodeo and that’s a whole new world for us. She’s working six events and we’ll be posting videos of practice sessions and competitions.
What’s new with me: I’m teaching a lot of private clinics. It’s that time of year… the NFR is next month. Travis Graves has come over and roped fresh muleys while we video and break it down. Those videos are up on speedroping.com. We will have some cool videos of Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira coming to practice. We will be posting those videos on speedroping.com and they should be a lot of fun to watch.