Breaking It Down

Speed Williams

Recently I taught a private school for a pretty handy 12-year-old girl who ropes and rides very well. She runs barrels, ropes breakaway and is starting to team rope. One of the first things I do when teaching kids is to cut their rope off. Safety always comes first, especially with kids.

Most of my life my every waking moment was spent trying to figure out how to be the best roper possible. I was very successful for a lot of years and truly enjoyed competing. My whole world changed when my daughter was born. I was at the NFR when she was born and won my 7th world title that year. 

I just got back from a two-week trip to Brazil. For the last 10 years the Brazilian bull riders have had quite a bit of success here in the United States. You may remember at the recent American rodeo in Dallas, a young Brazilian heeler named Junior Nogueira, who pulled off some amazing shots. 

Just last month there was a rodeo, RFD’s The American, held where cowboys and cowgirls could compete for up to $1,000,000. Each event consisted of the top 10 in the world, five contestants who qualified, and then one or two exemption contestants who were invited. 

Because Randy Bernard gave a few exemptions in The American, we got to see Charmayne James run barrels, Dan Mortensen ride a saddle bronc horse, Ote Berry wrestle steers, and Joe Beaver and Fred Whitfield rope calves. Randy couldn’t choose between Jake, Clay and I (Rich was already qualified) so he invited us to rope with partners of our choice.