Like a West Texas ranch that still hauls out the wagon for brandings, the Stock Horse of Texas Association hasn't changed much, either. Oh, it's grown during the past decade-both in memberships and the number of yearly events-but it's stayed true to its roots.
"I haven't felt the need to compete since I retired," says seven-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association all-around champ Ty Murray. "I haven't missed competition or felt the need to replace rodeo with some other competitive event."
Winning eight Women's Professional Rodeo Association world championships wasn't a fluke for Arizona roper Kim Williamson. The all-around cowgirl has claimed championships in calf roping, team roping heading, team roping heeling and breakaway roping. She's also won the WPRA's all-around crown.
Bill Smith of Thermopolis, Wyoming, had a long saddle-bronc riding career. That represents only a portion of a lifetime well-spent in the horse industry. See the print feature, "Under This Wyoming Cowboy's Hat," in the May issue to learn more.
In saddle bronc riding, a single, braided rope bronc rein is attached to the horse's halter and the rider uses it for balance and leverage. If the rein is too long (loose) or too short (tight), it usually makes a considerable difference in a cowboy's ride.