story by Siri Stevens Erika Chartrand was raised in Montreal Canada and came south to attend college. “My dad said I could go as long […]
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Meet the Member Olin Pulham
story by Lily Weinacht
Olin Pulham is a three-time RMPRA Team Roping Heeler Champion, and he’s set to defend his winning streak again this season. The 28-year-old from Nephi, Utah, is currently leading the team roping heeler standings, roping with his longtime friend Thad Ward of West Warren, Utah. They both high school rodeoed for Utah and entered USTRC ropings, and jackpots, before deciding to enter rodeos together four years ago. Since then, they qualified for the Wilderness Circuit Finals Rodeo their first year of circuit rodeoing, then won the circuit in 2016 and won the average in the team roping last year. “Being able to go to the RMPRA finals too has been awesome,” says Olin, who joined the association when it started in 2008. “Thad’s wife ropes and my wife ropes, so we can all jump in the same rig and enter the RMPRA rodeos and take our families with us.”
Santaquin, Utah, is Olin’s hometown RMPRA rodeo and a favorite. His rodeo career started when he was 6 or 7 and he entered junior rodeos, followed by high school rodeo, where he entered both team roping and tie-down roping. After a year on the Howard College rodeo team in Big Springs, Texas, Olin went on a mission for his church, then accepted a rodeo scholarship from Utah Valley University in Orem, where he roped with his brother, Luke Pulham. After college, Olin left off tie-down roping. “My dad said, ‘If you can rope two feet you’ll be able to find partners and be able to rope a whole lot more,’ and that’s something I really took to heart and worked at a lot,” says Olin. “I’m one that really pushes myself and I always want to do better than I did before — that’s my goal every year. Be grateful for where you’re at, but there’s always room for improvement, and that’s something that keeps me going.”
Family also keeps him going, from his wife, Shelby Pulham, who is a breakaway roper in the RMPRA, to his parents, Lori and Bruce Pulham, who come from multiple-generation ranch and rodeo backgrounds, and his grandparents, Pat and Leland McNeil. “One thing my grandparents take a lot of pride in is our horses, and it’s important to them that we ride really good horses, so that’s where we get all of them from.” Olin’s main horse, Cougar, was raised on his grandparents’ ranch. “Cougar took a long time to finish, but now that I’ve got him finished, he’s probably one of my favorite heel horses I’ve ever ridden. He’ll help you win; he’s easy to catch on. I kind of jump back and forth between him and another horse I call Diesel. He’s a grandson of Freckles Playboy, and I know I’ll get the same roll on him every time. My wife hauls him to jackpots and he’s pretty fun for her too.”
Olin and Shelby recently moved into a new house with their 19-month-old daughter, Journee, who is already sold on horses, and they are in the middle of setting up a place to practice and ride. In the meantime, they practice at Olin’s parents’ arena, or with Thad.
During the week, Olin works construction as a contract painter in his family’s fourth-generation paint company. He worked for Equibrand making Classic Ropes for nearly a year when he and Shelby lived in Texas just after they were married, but they moved back to Utah to be closer to family. “The paint company is really flexible for rodeos, and it’s been way good for our family. My brothers work with me every day, and it works out pretty good.
“One of my main goals this summer is to get the new heel horse I bought seasoned to where I can haul him quite a bit more, and I want to win the RMPRA and the circuit again. Something I’ve been working on more lately is mental preparation. And on the physical side of things, one of our (Thad’s and Olin’s) goals this summer is to get the most out of every run and capitalize on any situation we’re put in.”