Billy Bob Brown was born to rope.
When he was 2, Brown earned his first trophy belt buckle in a dummy roping contest in Abilene. Today, Brown is 22 and he’s the 2014 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association team roping heading champion.
“Some say I was born with a rope in my hand — I never put one down,” Brown said. “It’s just my passion. I have a lot of drive and I want to be the best there is someday.”
Brown, a Tarleton State senior business administration major, clinched the NIRA’s team roping heading title after competing in the College National Finals Rodeo last weekend in Casper, Wyo.
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Brown and Logan Medlin, who attends Eastern New Mexico, finished No. 1 after turning in a four-run time of 26.0, 5.3 seconds faster than the second-place finishers.
Brown grew up in the small community of Carbon in Eastland County. His father, Chris, was a rodeo competitor who helped produce shows on the United States Team Roping Championships circuit. That meant Brown grew up with lots of practice steers to rope at his family’s home arena.
In addition to winning team roping buckles, Brown also consistently claims all-around and tie-down roping titles. Last year, he snared both the NIRA men’s all-around and team roping titles at the College National Finals. This year, he finished second in the men’s all-around race at the CNFR.
“I like the competitive edge of rodeo,” Brown said. “Some days you get paid and some days you don’t, but it’s the type of sport that keeps you mentally strong, which helps you face all aspects of life.”
Brown, a Stephenville resident, also is a prize-winning Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competitor. He is ranked 24th in the world all-around standings with $9,281. He’s also ranked third in the PRCA’s rookie team roping heading standings with $6,249.
In bareback riding at the College National Finals, Tarleton’s Richmond Champion finished second in the title race. Champion and Brown played a big role in helping Tarleton finish second in the men’s team title race.
Tarleton finished with 730 points. Tennessee-Martin clinched the team title with 755.
Meanwhile, Hill College CNFR tie-down roping qualifiers Blane Cox and Marty Yates finished sixth and eighth, respectively. The two men helped Hill finish 19th in the team race.
At the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo in February, Joe Frost of Randlett, Utah, won the bull-riding title after finishing as the only cowboy who stayed on all three bulls.
At last week’s College National Finals, Frost, who attends Oklahoma Panhandle State, clinched the NIRA’s bull riding title after finishing as the only cowboy who stayed on all four bulls.
He finished No. 1 after turning in a final-round score of 85.
Trevor Brazile of Decatur, who is attempting to earn a record PRCA 12th world all-around title, is ranked No. 1 in the 2014 world title race with $110,736.
He is $72,259 ahead of No. 2-ranked Russell Cardoza of Terrebonne, Ore., who has $38,477.
During the past weekend, Brazile won the all-around title and finished second in team roping the Rodeo de Santa Fe (N.M.).
Summer season begins
The world’s top competitors are working the $495,083 Reno Rodeo in Nevada, which is the PRCA’s first major rodeo of the summer season.
The final round is scheduled for Saturday.