The Chase Is On!
Put yourself in our boots for the best-paying, most bone-tiring run in rodeo.
Buckle up with battle-scarred veterans, like saddle-bronc rider Cody DeMoss:
“This will be my nineteenth Cowboy Christmas. I’ve been every year. You can win $15,000 and think you didn’t have a very good Fourth, and the next year you’ll only win $1,000 and think, Holy crap, this is bad, because you’ve got two thousand in fees and that ain’t even counting what it costs to get to ’em.
You get sore for the first week or so, and then you work it out. Sometimes you get beat-up, but beat-up ain’t nothing. I broke some ribs at Red Lodge once and had to go home. That was bad.
During the Fourth, there ain’t no guarantees. I just throw my name in the hat for a bunch of big ones and hope I draw a few good horses. You just never know. If you’re worried about the lack of certainty, you’ll never make it as a rodeo cowboy.
I’ve done some pretty crazy things in my time. A few years ago, we left Louisiana on June 19 and went to fifty-three rodeos in sixty-five days and put 47,000 miles on my truck. It was pretty ridiculous, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Rodeoing is the funnest job there is.”
And feel the thrill of first-timers, like team-roping heeler Paden Bray:
“This is the first summer I’ve ever left the house to go rodeoing. As I get ready for the Fourth run, I’m so excited I can’t even stand it. I’m traveling with my partner, header Erich Rogers, and his girlfriend, Dana. I call them Mom and Dad. They have their own routine, and I just follow along like a kid on vacation.
Erich has been staying at my family’s house consistently in the winter since I was thirteen—before Erich Rogers was Erich Rogers, world champion header! He used to pick me up from school and take me to the barn to rope. This year, we started winning money at jackpots around the house. In March, Erich asked me to rodeo with him.
I’ll admit that I’m as green as they come. I can’t even tell you where we’re going next. I’m usually in the back seat with my headphones on. But I’ve got a really good partner. He makes it easy. I feel like my main job is to catch the steer every day.”