story by Lindsay Humphrey Deployments were never a good reason to keep a rope out of Val Baker’s hands during her time with the Air […]
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Meet the Member Savvas Halikas
story by Lindsay King
Growing up around horses left Savvas Halikas from Santa Rosa, California, with a burning desire to try his hand at rodeo. “I grew up in the restaurant business but I always wanted to rodeo.” A neighbor taught him how to rope the dummy when he was nine. “I got my first horse when I was 19 and started roping. I did not start roping calves until I was 29.” That same year, 1992, he was rookie of the year for calf roping in the CCA. Born and raised only 40 miles north of Santa Rosa, Savvas is a self-proclaimed “backyard guy,” never straying too far from home, until now. “In 2013 I sprouted out and I started going to NSPRA rodeos. That was the first time I really went out of my area as far as competitive roping goes. I always wanted to but never had the opportunity to do so.” That year he went to the NSPRA finals and was reserve world champion in the team roping.
Savvas has generally rode self-made horses, never spending the money for a finished rope horse. “In 2015 in Estes Park, Colorado, I was blessed enough to come across the horse I have now. This horse just fell into my lap and gave me the opportunity to win quite a bit.” His calf horse, Dillon, helped him win the NSPRA all-around world championship at the finals last year. “My wife Dawn and I were sitting pretty high in the ribbon roping and then I placed in the team roping and calf roping. We won the year-end calf roping also.”
“The NSPRA is a blast, people are glad to be there and they enjoy it. I have formed a lot of friendships. Of course everybody wants to win, so there is the competition part of it. But everyone just enjoys each others company at the rodeos.” Savvas’ best days were the summer of 2005, when he spent all his time with his son Wyatt doing what they both loved to do. “We went to rodeos that whole summer, we got a lot of videos and it was just the best time of my life. That was the last year he was here.” Wyatt died in 2005. Savvas is most proud of being a dad to him while he had the chance. “Life is short and you just have to go do things that you love and enjoy. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow.” All he ever wanted to do was rope calves and that is what he works toward every single day. “Roping is pretty much what I live for. According to Dawn I do not have any hobbies other than rodeo.” Savvas spends his days working as a foreman for a construction company to support his true life passion. “I think last year I went to 58 rodeos. I am 53 years old and still making it to the California state finals with all these young kids.” A knee replacement in December slows Savvas down minimally. “Since I got out of the hospital I have been working to get back in shape and ready to rodeo.” His goals for the rest of the year is to get back in shape and start winning some more world championships in the NSPRA. “I just want to rope as much and for as long as I possibly can.” The last three years Savvas has roped at the CCA finals. “I rope with a lot of kids whose grandparents I also rope with and they always ask me when I am going to quit. I do not have an answer for them. All I wanted to do in life was rope and I am finally getting to do just that. I will not quit anytime soon.”