Weatherford’s Ryan Motes isn’t a stranger to competition. He is among a select group competing for a title at the prestigious Wangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
It’s not new to him. This is his fourth time to compete in the elite spotlight, and he’s had success. In his previous three trips, the former Weatherford College roper (1999-2000) has won five go-rounds.
He qualified for this year’s WNFR by finishing fifth among team roping-heelers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
The son of 1977 world champion roper David Motes, Ryan has carved out his own niche. He has, however, competed with his dad and won five titles between 2001-03.
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In the offseason, Ryan helps run the family ranch and mare breeding program, along with giving roping lessons and training horses.
He has been to married to Courtney Ford since 2005. She is a cutting horse competitor herself, but spends most of her time these days helping Ryan on the road.
Ryan took a few moments to answer a few questions before taking off to compete in Las Vegas:
WST: What are your thoughts on this season so far? Thoughts going into WNFR?
RM: 2015 has been a good year for me. I roped with Aaron Tsinigine all year and we are going into the Finals fifth in the World. He roped great at the finals last year, so I’m pumped about us getting to rope there together
WST: Why is roping your sport of choice, and why heeling?
RM: My family has been involved in rodeo and team roping for three generations. I headed all through high school and in college some. I switched to heeling to rope with my dad. He has headed at 22 NFRs.
WST: Can you explain the excitement when the chute opens and you are racing against the clock to tie down an animal that probably doesn’t want to be tied down?
RM: I love team roping, so I’m excited to rope every time I get to. It’s even more excitement at the NFR with the energy in the building.
WST: Is there a danger involved in the sport? Have you ever been injured?
RM: In any equine event there is always a bit of danger. In team roping dallying is dangerous. I got my thumb caught in my rope dallying in 2009 and cut it off.
WST: What did you learn from your dad and uncle on the way to forming your own career? Also, do you and your dad ever compete together these days?
RM: Because I was able to rope with my dad my rookie year he was able to teach me how to enter, travel and how to win. We still get to rope at some team ropings now.
WST: If so, how do coordinate schedules for family time?
RM: Courtney doesn’t cut much anymore. She gets to travel with me most all of the year. She takes great care of all the horses, and I couldn’t be gone throughout the season with out having her with me
WST: What’s life like when you’re not competing?
RM: Right now we compete around 10 months out of the year. I spend most of the fall at home and most of the winter rodeos are close to Texas. We go to California for a month in the spring and get to be home for about two months after that. We leave mid-June and get back late September.
When I’m not competing, I’m at home in Weatherford working on the ranch and riding young horses. Every horse I compete on was born, raised and trained right here on the place.