Team roper prepares for state rodeo in Abilene

Grady Pierce ropes a calf at a recent rodeo. Pierce, who attends Frenship High School, travels to the state rodeo finals this weekend. (Photo provided by Janette Pierce)By Jim Jarrett

Team roper Grady Pierce will make his fourth appearance in the Texas State finals rodeo in Abilene this weekend.

Before the event, Pierce, who is a Wrangler All-Star team member, talked about team roping, how he got started, his plans and his family.

Pierce placed in a pair of go rounds at the tri-state finals rodeo June 6-7 in Vernon. The tri-state finals includes rodeo performers from Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and part of New Mexico.

Pierce, 17, who will be a senior at Frenship High School, also finished third in the Region I Texas High School Rodeo Association standings this year.

“Last year, I won the Region One team roping as a header,” he said. “This year, I was in the lead and lost it. I was really close. We’ve been doing really good. I’ve had really good partners the past three years.”

Pierce also has won the Panhandle Classic level 10 last year and level 12 titles this spring in Amarillo. The levels represent different skill levels for ropers.

“That was pretty fun,” he said.

Who is your partner for the state finals?

“Pecos Thomas of Plainview. We started last year roping just as tri-State partners. This year we decided we wanted to rope together the Tri-State and high school. It’s worked well together.”

Grady Pierce

Age: 17.
Family: Parents, Ben and Janette Pierce.
High school: Will be a senior in the fall at Frenship High School.
Goals: Plans to major in financial planning.
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Steak, fish or salad? Steak.
Popcorn or candy bar at movie: Popcorn.
Soda or water to drink at movie: Soda.
Beach or mountain vacation: Mountains.
TV drama or comedy: Comedies.
Westerns, scary or comedy movie? Comedies.
Favorite type of girl — quiet or talkative: Talkative.

What’s the Wrangler All-Star rodeo team? How did you become a member of that team?

“I became a member of that last year when I won the Panhandle Region. When we won that, they called us and sent us some pants and shirts and stuff. They gave us some recognition. It’s a pretty good deal.”

What are your future plans?

“I want to go to college on a rodeo scholarship. I am not sure where yet, probably Texas Tech or West Texas A&M and then go on and try and win some of the big roping (events) around the state.”

Has anyone helped teach you about roping?

“My dad. He taught me everything. He taught me … basically the fundamentals of throwing a rope. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot to it.”

What sort of family support do you get?

“A lot. That’s everything. They drive to the rodeos and all the roping events.”

Have any other members of your family been in the rodeo?

“My dad did. His dad did. The PRCA was the RCA back (when his grandfather roped). My grandfather B.J. Pierce won some calf roping titles.

“My great-grandfather, Grady was born in Childress. When he was young, he moved about 30 head of cattle from Childress to Clovis.”

“What’s the best compliment you’ve received?

“That my horse is working well. That’s one of the biggest things I like to hear — that my horse is working well.”

What kind of horse do you ride?

“I’ve got several, but my favorite is a sorrel quarter horse and his name is Preacher. That was actually his name when I bought him. He’s 10.”

How long have been involved as a steer roper?

“Probably since I was 4 and roping since I was 8 or 9.”

What is the first thing you ever roped?

“A calf. I had this little Shetland pony. We had this little bitty horse in this big arena and I ran all the way back and roped it. I felt like it was going really fast.”

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