Local team ropers’ bonds tied hard and fast
Nevada Appeal News Service
They share ropes, horses, shirts and even beds when they need to.
They’re more than just friends – they’re roping partners.
Brothers Yose and Clint Campbell, both of Stagecoach, are heelers with headers Tye Fitzpatrick, of Carson City, and Waco McGill, of Gardnerville, hit about 30 ropings a year, mostly in Nevada and California.
“We spend hours and hours in the front seat of a pickup,” Yose said.
“It ain’t nothin’ to put 1,500 miles on the truck in one weekend,” Clint added.
The Campbell brothers grew up going to rodeos in the ’70s with their roper dad and barrel-racing mom. Their uncles and cousins also compete.
“I love it,” Clint said. “I was born in it and done it all my life. It’s in our blood.”
Waco’s dad rode bulls, and so did he in high school. He can’t remember deciding to be a cowboy, he just was.
“I always had a rope in my hand,” he said.
The men, all in their 30s, work full-time jobs practicing in their spare time and traveling about three weekends a month to rodeos and jackpot ropings.
“I got a family. I got a house and a house payment,” Waco explained. “I got to work for a living.”
Yose and Tye also have families, and they all keep on eye on each other’s kids.
“Rodeo is all about family and friends,” Waco said.
They mostly compete in the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association, where Tye and Yose are in good position to make the finals.
But when the Reno Rodeo comes to town, they take a shot in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, competing against the best team ropers in the country.
“This is the biggest rodeo in the West, and it’s our local rodeo,” Yose said.
Neither Tye and Yose, who have known each other for about 15 years and have been roping together for the past year, nor Waco and Clint, who have been partners for about five years, made it to today’s final round of the Reno Rodeo.
But that doesn’t matter much.
“I love winning. I love to compete,” Waco said. “I like to show up. I like to warm up my horse. I like just hanging out like this, drinking a beer, even though I missed.”
The guys pass the time casting dice, betting money, saddles … anything and everything. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they make good on the bets.
“We have more I.O.U.s on paper plates than you can shake a snake at,” Waco said. “But we don’t know who all owes what because sometimes they fly out the window.”
Yose said the thrill of throwing his loop and catching the heels of the steer never diminishes.
“To go make the perfect run is the ultimate,” he said. “That’s what makes you do it all the time.”
But the pull of camaraderie is just about as strong.
“You get around a bunch of cowboys, there ain’t nobody funner,” Clint said.
• Contact reporter Teri Vance at email@example.com or 881-1272.