story by Lori O’Harver GLEN ROSE, Texas – “We’re thrilled to have the bronc riders back in town, but honestly? It’s the TBRA lady ranch […]
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Meet the Member: Heath Ford
story by Lori O’Harver
There’s an honored tradition of helpfulness woven into the DNA of the rodeo community, one that Heath Ford lives every day.
“I grew up at my Uncle Bruce Ford’s place. My cousin, Royce, and I are more like brothers than cousins. We tried to wear out the bucking machine when we weren’t getting on bucking ponies and horses. It wasn’t like we didn’t have a choice, we did. We wanted it,” said Ford.
As an 18 year old PRCA permit holder, Heath traveled with Bruce and his cousin Royce.
“Uncle Bruce taught me everything from how to enter, where to enter and why. To this day, he’s my best friend, my hero and I’m his biggest fan. He’s been such a huge asset to my career and life,” said Ford. “I try do what he did for me for the young bareback riders out there today. Every day I rodeo, I’m blessed with that opportunity.”
Ford, six years PRCA’s bareback riding director, is pleased to support the efforts of the TBRA. He believes the organization strengthens the foundation of the community and helps to not just enable young bucking horse riders in honing their craft, but instill a bigger dream in the form of higher education. The TBRA scholarship program assures the opportunity for those who win them.
The Ford’s have two daughters; Pecos, 8, and Gracesyn, 8 months. His wife, Brittney Ford, is ready to get her roping and barrel horse going again, so the family was looking for a circuit close to home. That’s when they found the TBRA and joined soon after Heath visited with Daryl McElroy, the founder and president.
“I thought the TBRA sounded like a great deal. After being to their shows, I’m sure of it,” said Ford.
Looking 40 squarely in the eye means looking back at 22 years of full time rodeoing.
“I’ve lived in a car on the road since I was 18,” he said. “I like it here in Texas, but Dorothy had it right; there’s no place like home,” Ford said of his young family’s move from the Eastern slopes of the Rockies to the Lone Star State. “If I had a pair of those good red shoes, there’s several times I’d have clicked my heels.”
Meanwhile, his 3 year old, Pecos, grows up Native Texan. She’s learning to swim this summer and her daddy plays bucking horse for her every chance they get, but it’s her little pink fishing pole that she doesn’t let get too far from her sight.
“She’s a fishing little dude, now,” said Ford. “Say the word ‘fishing’ and that poles in her hands and she’s ready to roll.”