Rodeo life

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Jake Duckworth of Happy, Texas, oversees the action on the arena floor Saturday at the Curry County Events Center during the Joe's Boot Shop Calf roping event.

Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping rodeo producers say it is the biggest calf roping event in the world. Cowboys and cowgirls were busy roping calves this weekend at the Curry County Events Center but the CNJ was able to catch up with a few and talk to them about there experience:

Jake Duckworth, 16, from Happy, Texas, has been roping calves since age 4.

Duckworth said on Friday he won $480 competing in the 12-plus group. He used his winnings to compete in the 11 plus group on Saturday (the smaller the number the higher the skill level). He roped a calf in 17 seconds on Saturday morning, but said he roped faster on Friday.

Rickey Leslie of Tatum, Texas, works in construction and he has been roping calves for 39 years.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Rickey Leslie of Tatum, Texas, a participant Saturday at the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping, said he has been roping for 39 years and has won several awards.

Minutes before entering the arena to calf rope he was riding his horse, Chico, and swinging his lasso above his head and at his side.

Leslie said he prepares for the calf roping event with a lot of practice. He said relaxation is key before a competition.

Cedrick Hatton started calf roping when he was 7. The 30-year-old from Houston works at an oil company.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Cedrick Hatton of Houston, TX inspect his rope just before his next round Saturday at the Curry County Events Center of Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping event.

Hatton said he has practiced hard all week to prepare for the rodeo, but there is only so much he can do so he "gives the rest to God."

"I do it for the desire and love for the game just like any other basketball or football player," Hatton said.

Hatton said his goal at the rodeo is to win the money back that he paid in entry fees.

Hatton he had already competed in two heats. He said he took too long in both of them. When asked what he would do to improve his time on the next he heat he said, "Just keep roping."

Brooke Wilson, 25, owns a ranch with her husband in Carlsbad.

"I had no chance," Wilson said about her performance on Friday. "I had weak calves."

A requirement in the calf roping event is to throw the calf down with their own hands after the calf has been lassoed. Wilson said after she had lassoed her calves, they wouldn't stay on their feet and they would fall down on the ground, so she couldn't throw the calf down with her own hands.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Husband and wife Justin and Brooke Wilson explain what they like about calf roping Saturday at the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping event in the Curry County Events Center.

Wilson has been roping since high school.

Justin Wilson, 25, is a rancher, and he is married to Brooke Wilson.

"I was pretty quick," Justin said about his first two heats.

"He was smooth," Brooke added.

"I focus on technique mostly and try to be smooth." Justin said. "When you're smooth you're fast." Justin said if he focuses on going fast he makes mistakes.

Justin has been calf roping all his life, and he also competes in steer throwing competitions as a pro. He said his goal was to compete in Rodeo and as a pro he has already arrived.

Ashlee Rose Mills is the 2013 Miss Rodeo New Mexico. Mills is from Eagle Nest and she was helping to clear the arena of calves after each heat.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Miss Rodeo New Mexico Ashlee Rose Mills of Eagle Nest take part in action Saturday at the Curry County Events Center helping out on the arena floor during the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping competition.

She said her job as Miss Rodeo New Mexico is to help in any way the Miss Rodeo New Mexico committee asks.

Mills also competes in barrel racing, goat tying, and breakaway.

A big part of Mills role as Miss Rodeo New Mexico is promoting rodeo, "Sometimes with iPads and iPods, we forget the outdoors and the great American spirit of rodeo. I love informing people about rodeo and western lifestyle."

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