Fernley roper wins big despite contrary sign
August 22, 2007
“People have told me I should take it down,” Billy “Tee” Trimble said of the sign in front of his property on Jenny Lane.
“Trimble’s I’m Broke Cause I Rope Ranch” elicits a chuckle from passers-by. People say that, “’cause after I put it up, I won $100,000,” Trimble explained.
Trimble and his son-in-law, Devin Murphy, who rope as a team, both won $100,000, a leather-tooled saddle and a championship belt buckle. Now, Trimble plans to leave the sign up “for good luck.”
“Devin is my ‘heeler,'” Trimble said.
Trimble and his horse, Tuffy, race across the arena after a steer, with Murphy on his own horse running behind them. Trimble ropes the head of the steer, and Murphy, as “heeler,” ropes the steer’s rear feet.
It takes a good team to qualify. It takes a great team to win the World’s Richest Roping Competition put on at the Reno Invitational Rodeo each year.
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“Once you win, you can’t do it again,” Trimble said. This leaves the opportunity open for new winners each season.
“We were the High Team in 2003, but Devin missed the final rope.” He made up for that in 2006.
Trimble said he has been roping for 50 years and has spent the last 10 competing.
“I roped calves and steer-wrestled before team calf-roping became my major love,” he said. “I wasn’t a natural roper; I practice every day. It was always hard for me, so I have to work extra hard.”
Trimble does most of his roping on weekends and credits Tuffy for a good share of his success.
“The PDL, as the cowboys call it, is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. You can’t win more than once. Between 200 and 250 teams compete. As a team, you both have to be on your game to win.”
Rodeo runs in the Trimble family. Trimble met his wife, Darla, at a high school rodeo. “She won the high school calf-roping competition in 1965, and went to the Nevada National finals,” Trimble said.
They married while they were still high school seniors.
“Without her, I guarantee you I couldn’t win anything. She tells me how to tune my horses up. She’s my best coach. “
All of their children have participated in rodeo. Their son is a full-time rodeo calf-roper. One daughter was Miss Reno Rodeo in 1988, then went on to become Miss Rodeo Nevada in 1989 and was in the top 10 for Miss Rodeo America. She is a barrel-racer and works as Miss Rodeo Coors. The other daughter, who once barrel-raced, now spends her rodeo time assisting her 12-year-old daughter who also competes as a barrel-racer.
The Trimbles have been successful in their rodeo careers, and it doesn’t look like Trimble is going to quit soon.
“I love this roping. It’s what I live for,” he said.