story by Michele Toberer Anna Jae Griffin goes by AJae, and the Mississippi native has been a cowgirl for a lifetime, and a Southeastern Professional […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Stacy Benton
story by Lily Weinacht
Stacy Benton of Athens, Tennessee, worked the SPRA finals for the third time during the 2015 finals, picking up broncs and bulls, but his involvement in rodeo doesn’t stop there. He rode bulls for nearly 16 years and currently competes in team roping as a header, while also leasing roping calves and steers to stock contractors, primarily for the SPRA. The first of his family to rodeo, Stacy grew up on his family’s farm helping raise Tennessee Walking Horses. A friend in high school was a tie-down roper, and with his help, Stacy started roping calves and entering rodeos as well. “But I wasn’t big enough to rope calves, so I started riding bulls in the early ‘90s,” says Stacy. “The dad of one of my buddies was a pickup man, and I watched him and thought it was pretty cool, so he got me started.”
Stacy picked up his first rodeo in the late ‘90s, and hasn’t missed a rodeo season since. “I enjoy riding a horse and knowing I’m out there to help somebody out and make their ride a bit better. I was always on horseback growing up, so being on horseback all the time picking up interested me.” He’s picked up for stock contractors including Bill Hudson and Danny Hedrick, and J Bar J Rodeo. Working SPRA and SRA rodeos keeps him on the road nearly every weekend between the first of April and the first of October. “I’ll rope at the rodeos I pick up, or if it’s close enough, I’ll pick up then enter the slack in another rodeo, but it limits you on what you can and can’t do,” Stacy explains.
His family travels with him as often as they can between school and running their farm near Athens. “We have 25 acres and I lease another 110 to run cattle and steers on, so we have about 130 acres to tend,” says Stacy. His wife of 13 years, Kristi, their daughter, Karli, and Stacy’s step-daughters, Bayli and Kassi, are key to running the farm. “Karli and Bayli are barrel racing, and they all help when I’m sorting cows or riding horses. It’s a family deal.” They have nearly a dozen horses, half of which can be used for picking up. “I usually take three or four pickup horses with me, and I always have an older horse and a younger one that I’m starting. Some work better in bareback, others in saddle bronc, and you always have to have something you can drag bulls out on. I have some really broke horses you’d think would be great at picking up, but when it comes down to matching a bucking horse, it’s not their style. All of my pickup horses have a little quirk to them, and I think that’s what makes them the better horses. One of mine is liable to buck when you put a saddle on him and another can always get untied, but then you go pick up and they’re all business.”
On the rare weekend that he’s home during rodeo season, Stacy and his family may enjoy a relaxing afternoon fishing on the river, but rodeo is always on his mind. “I enjoy the cowboy lifestyle, being on a horse every day and working cattle. I also work at a stockyard on the side, so it’s always something different, and I’m thankful to be able to do that. My goal, either roping or picking up, is to make it to the bigger rodeos, whether it’s the IPRA finals or the NFR. I’ve done well around the house, and it’s worked out pretty good so far!”