Photo by Paul Knight Joe Shawnego
Name: Joe Shawnego
Hometown: Oakdale, California
Event: Team Roping
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I got into rodeo because my father and grandfather, they both team roped. This is my tenth year [professionally], but I can remember competing when I was nine years old.
If I didn't rodeo, I would do ranch work, train horses. I'm a farrier when I go home, I shoe horses.
I'm on the road at least seven or eight months out of the year. When you're done roping, you can leave. Around the Fourth of July, there's like ten, twelve good rodeos on top of each other, and you can catch ten or twelve of them in the course of five days. You can rope and rodeo if you want to all year round; there's never really a down time. There's entry fees ($500 in Houston), and if you don't win, you don't get paid. You lose, actually.
One of the craziest things I've seen was in Lakeside, California, which is just south Camp Pendleton. There's a rodeo there at the end of April. Some of the rodeo cowboys had been to a local pub or tavern, whatever you want to call it, and they ended up getting their fill of too much alcohol, and they ended up fighting some Marines. It was eight or nine of supposedly the toughest cowboys on the circuit, and they were beaten severely.