Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: It's In The Genes

Rodeo cowboys basically live on the road, traveling with men and women crazy enough to ride, rope and wrestle live animals for a paycheck. Each day, Hair Balls is asking a different cowboy to tell us a little bit about himself and his wildest story from a life of rodeo.

Name: Clay Tryan
Age: 30
Hometown: Billings, Montana
Event: Team roping

I got into rodeo because my family did it. I grew up in it, and my mom and dad both made the National Finals Rodeo. So I just grew up doing it. I don't remember my first rodeo. I did a lot of youth rodeos and stuff like that, but it's been a long time ago.

I'm on the road quite a bit. I bought a place in Texas, because a lot of the big rodeos in the wintertime are down here, and I wanted to have a home and be there a lot. I go to Montana more in the summertime, but I'm not there a whole lot anymore, just how it works out. But I'm gone probably 200 days out of the year.

When I'm traveling, I drive to most rodeos. I fly some, but I try to drive as much as I can. I've roped and traveled with quite a few different partners, doing it professionally for about 12 years, so I've roped with about 10 different guys. Most of us get along pretty good, but it's hard because you're business partners and you're around each other a lot, whether you want to be or not. It's always better if you do get along and have the same interests.

In team roping, the guys that I've roped with, they're trying as hard as they can, and everyone's out here to win and do good. So for me, personally, I try not to get upset, because I know he's trying, and if he messes up, he's usually pretty hard on himself anyways.

The best thing that's happened to me in rodeo is winning the world championship in 2005. That's it. The world championship is the ultimate and you can't do any better than that. So to win that, that's everybody's highest goal.

If someone wants to get into rodeo, they need to get hooked up with someone that knows what they're doing, and hopefully, they'll help you out. It's a hard sport to get into, just because if you've never done it, it's not like shooting a basketball, where you can just go buy a ball and shoot.

The craziest thing that's happened to me in rodeo is just seeing it all. I'll leave it at that.

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight