Always Answering the Call

I knew it was going to be TOUGH to win RodeoHouston this year just because of how tough it was to even make the championship shootout.

And it became even tougher when I found out that I would have to make two runs in one day. 

When I compete at this rodeo, I stay off the grounds, so normally I’d ride Famous Lil Jet, or ‘Rollo,’ to warm up before heading over to the stadium to compete. Even though it caught me off guard that we were making two runs in one day, it didn’t cause our routine to change too much because I normally try to ride early. However, Rollo had to be saddled three times the day of the finals—and that’s definitely not something he’s used to doing.

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Rollo is a special horse. He loves his job and enjoys being on the road rodeoing. Photo by RC Photography, Courtesy of BarrelRacing.com

Rollo made a solid first run in the Super Shootout; I rode a little high to the first barrel, and I had to really focus for the final round because the first barrel tends to sneak up on you in that arena. Plus, there’s no wall there to act as a buffer so you have to be very precise and not override or play it too conservative when you’re running.

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After I went back to the trailer between runs, I told Rollo, “You’ve got to make one more run, I’m so sorry!” It didn’t faze him at all; he came back in the arena wanting to win. He’s just so consistent, solid, and loves his job. He made that run two times in one day within about an hour. It’s indescribable. 

I needed to capitalize on being top of the ground, and I knew we’d have to go at them. Rollo nailed the first and second barrels, and I was maybe a little safe at third, but it worked. I knew immediately it was a good run.

I can’t even explain why a horse would have the kind of heart and try like what Rollo did at that rodeo. The first thing that makes him different than some of the other horses I’ve had and trained is I’ve never seen a horse be as excited as Rollo is to load up in the trailer and go rodeo. He almost kind of loses his personality a little bit when he’s home for too long. He gets slightly depressed and a little lazy. When we get ready to load up, his full personality comes out more so when we’re on the road. We stay in stalls on the road versus his pasture and big sandy run at home, but that doesn’t bother him; he’s always happy to see me when I check on him, and is never grouchy. He’s just in his element and loves his job.

Rollo and I made six runs total at Houston. After the first three runs in our Super Series bracket, he ran three times for The American, one run at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, and two runs in Arlington, which are all challenging setups. Then we made one run at Rodeo Austin before heading back to Houston. You also have to keep in mind we went to RodeoHouston after making five runs at San Antonio, and five runs in one arena is a lot. 

Taking Care of Rollo

I know I have a lot of responsibility having a horse like Rollo to take care of. Now that I feel like we’ve got pretty good odds of making the National Finals Rodeo, the next six months are going to be a little bit stressful on me to keep him safe, sound, and happy until the NFR gets here in December. 

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Rollo is a very different horse than I’m used to being around. Growing up, my mom, Kristie Peterson, had a special horse named French Flash Hawk, or ‘Bozo,’ a ProRodeo Hall of Fame horse that she won multiple world championships with. He never wanted to be touched. He just wanted you to saddle him and run barrels and that was it. 

But Rollo is the opposite. He loves to snuggle, he likes to be scratched; the second he sees you he comes to the fence to be loved. I get the sense that he loves me as much as I love him. Throughout my riding career it’s rare that I keep a horse. I’ve just always started over and sold them and started over, but I just couldn’t let this one go. We just have a special bond. 

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