True cowboys and cowgirls are hard to find, but not at the Houston Rodeo. Life on the road leads them here this time every year for the biggest rodeo in the world, where they'll ride and wrangle livestock for cash and glory. Each day, Hair Balls will spotlight one person with enough dirt on their boots to call themselves a cowboy -- and mean it.
Name: Tyson Durfey Age: 27 Hometown: Savannah, Missouri Event: Tie-down roper
For me, rodeo was a family deal. My dad rodeoed, my grandfather rodeoed. My mother ran barrels, my dad ran calves. From the time I can remember, I was riding horses and roping calves. We were brought up doing it. It's a way of life, and how I choose to live my life.
Tonight, I won second. I was hoping for first, but if you can't win first, second's always good.
I've been training to be a rodeo cowboy since I was four years old, seriously. You just get on your horse and start riding around, you swing your rope, and you start roping. I used to catch about one a day when I was four. I might have run 100, but I'd catch one.
At age four, the calves I would rope would be a lot slower. They'd be real slow. My dad used to take a calf and then give it a drug to calm it down, so that it'd just like, walk real nice and slow. It'd just slow them down so I could, you know, practice at four years old.
My craziest rodeo story was when I was in two rodeos in Canada and they were three hours apart from each other. I actually got done at one and had two hours to make it to the other one. I drove 100 miles per hour in between and made it, and won both of them. It was probably one of my best days.
I've shattered my left ankle, broke my left leg, tore my left knee up, broke both my collarbones, and broke and dislocated fingers. Not anything like a bullrider, but you still get hurt.
America needs to know that cowboys are just human like everyone else. We just work hard and try to be the best that we can be. The only difference is that we grew up in a roping pen or riding bulls or something like that. We try to be really polite and do good things and good things come back to you. It's the same whether you're from the city or the country.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.