Hometown Rodeo

Photo by matt cohen / cowboy journal

Photo by matt cohen / cowboy journal

There’s nothing I love more than getting to sit there behind my timers, watching some good calf roping and seeing my buddies win a lot of money.

by Shane Hanchey

I’ve been putting on my own hometown roping, the Shane Hanchey Invitational, in Sulphur, Louisiana, for ten years. Lately, I started thinking I was done.

The main reason, which some of you may know, is I’ve been spending more and more time in Carmine, Texas, with Taylor Jacob. I even bought land there. All of a sudden, my hometown is three-and-a-half hours away. Putting on my roping was already so much work for everyone involved. How the heck was I gonna do it from Texas?

I raise all my added money, which also pays for the cattle charge, announcer, DJ and flagman. On top of that we have a lot of volunteers, including my mom, sisters, aunts and cousins. It’s like running a little business all up until the day of the event. And when we get to that one day, bang, it’s over. Putting on this roping has really helped me understand and appreciate the hard work of rodeo committees everywhere.

But my hometown roping means too much to me. I just can’t let it go. That’s why I’ve decided to move it to Giddings, Texas, fifteen miles west of Carmine.

What makes this hometown roping so important? For starters, we need independent ropings. I’m biased, but I think I have the best calf roping in the world. It happens in early October, a great time of year. Summer has turned to fall, and the Pro Rodeo regular season is over. A lot of calf ropers are home and tired of going down the road. For guys from Texas and Oklahoma, Sulphur was never that far of a drive. Giddings is even closer.

Not long ago, the PRCA asked if I wanted to make the Shane Hanchey Invitational Roping a sanctioned event. I told them thanks, but no. I want to keep it independent.

PRCA stands for Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and “rodeo,” to me, means all events. It seems like there are more and more stand-alone events, like the Xtreme Bronc competitions and the San Angelo Roping Fiesta, that count towards our PRCA standings. I’m not complaining about the opportunities. It’s great to be invited to the San Angelo Roping, but I worry that these events will further divide rodeo and rodeo cowboys at a time when what we really need is unification.

We also need a weekend to kick back and have fun. If you’ve been to my roping, you know it’s as much about camaraderie, Cajun cooking and watching LSU football on TV as it is about competing in the arena. I swear, a few guys only come because of the food. Back in 2014, I asked my good friend, Don Martin, Would you mind fixing a jambalaya for my contestants so they can taste what real Louisiana home-cooking is all about? Don’s a guy I’ve been around my whole life. He was my baseball coach growing up and was just as hard on me as I was on myself. As I got older and started rodeoing for living, Don became my go-to guy to talk to about things, good or bad. Don always seems to have the right words to fill me with. And, man, can he cook a jambalaya. He’ll be in Giddings, for sure.

My announcer, Kenny Kyle, is one in a million, and if you’ve been to my roping you understand why. There’s never a dull moment when he’s announcing. Kenny’s frickin’ hilarious. And you don’t ever see a roping with a personal DJ on site, but my close friend and former roommate, Brian “Turbo” Jacobs, better known as DJ Big Beezy, plays the best music and also carries a mic. Turbo will come to Texas. He ain’t got a choice.

And then there’s my good buddy, Doc, a physician from Shreveport who loves watching the roping and playing the Calcutta. He’s a bigger LSU fan than me, and that’s no lie. Every LSU game I’ve ever been to was with Doc. At my roping, he always makes sure to park his luxury bus in the number one spot. It’s got power, and he runs all the TVs for the weekend football games.

Honestly, I think the only thing that will be different about this year’s Shane Hanchey Invitational Roping will be the location. I hope that includes the added money.

Last year, we added $20,000, the most since we started a decade ago. But even if we don’t match that amount, contestants rope for 100 percent of their entry fees. It’s expensive—$1,250 for three rounds and a short-go—but all $1,250 of the fee goes to the payoff. The high fee is how I limit my roping, instead of telling guys they’re not qualified. If you want to pay the fee and think you’ve got what it takes, you can rope against the best ropers in the world. Last year, eleven of the top fifteen PRCA tie-down ropers were there, including Caleb Smidt who went on to win the 2018 gold buckle. Still, an up-and-comer named John Douch won second in the average and more money than anybody there—around $14,000. I don’t care who you are: That’s a good month when you’re rodeoing for a living.

So, no, I can’t walk away from my hometown roping. But this year, on October 6, the eleventh annual Shane Hanchey Invitational Roping will take place in Giddings, Texas, at the Sheriff Posse Arena. I hope you’ll be there. There’s nothing I love more than getting to sit there behind my timers, watching some good calf roping and seeing my buddies win a lot of money.

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