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 […]
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Meet the Member Terry Denard
story by Lily Weinacht
Terry Denard was fresh out of high school when team roping came onto the scene of his home state of Alabama. He’d ridden his first bull at 15 and even spurred a handful of bucking horses, but he’d always seen more success with a ranch rope in hand than a bull rope. “When I was six months old, my dad caught me in the yard trying to crawl on a horse. Since my dad bought and sold horses and we always had cows in the pasture, I’d grown up cowboying, so I started team roping,” says Terry, now 59. He competed in jackpots as a heeler, since there was a surplus of headers at the time. “But later, I found I could partner up better in the average if I was a header, which I did up until this year when my good horse died,” Terry explains. “I let my step-son, Jeremy Beauchamp, ride my other head horse this year and told him I’d rope with him in a few SPRA rodeos until we could find him a good partner. We won one rodeo and placed in several others, and now I’m fifth in the heeling and Jeremy’s leading the heading!
“I’ve also had the pleasure of watching several SPRA team roping champions grow up practicing at my house. I had the chance to help them with their roping, and it’s neat to see those young men be successful,” Terry adds. “I’ve had an awesome life, and God has blessed me with a lot of nice young men that I can teach the things I didn’t know growing up.” One of the ropers Terry helped went on to college rodeo at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he was Chief Osceola, the appaloosa-riding mascot of the Florida Seminoles.
Terry’s inspiration comes in part from one of his contemporaries, Clay O’Brien Cooper. “I learned roping through trial and error, but the best money I spent was for a Clay O’Brien Cooper clinic in the 1980s after he won his first world title. He taught me a lot about horsemanship, which helped me rope better, and it also got me involved in training and selling horses.”
His rope horse, Eight, was a gift from one of the families whose kids Terry taught to rope. “I don’t charge anybody, because I was given the ability to teach and a place to do it. I’d helped their daughter find this heel horse, Eight, and those kids have since grown up and quit roping, but their dad brought me that mare a year ago as a gift for helping his kids.” Terry practices daily, often on the Hot Heels which his wife, Anita, will pull. “She’s my right arm,” says Terry. “We’ve been married more than 20 years and I raised her two boys as my own. She helps me with horses and feeding and turning out cows – I couldn’t do it without her. Anita doesn’t travel with me much because we’re taking care of our two-year-old granddaughter, Lilly. We have another granddaughter, Kendall, who lives in Georgia, and she wants to do everything on horseback. Jeremy’s four-month-old son, Atticus, goes with us to our rodeos.”
During the week, Terry is an auctioneer for Pearce & Associates Auction Company. After 30 years of cowboying for a living, he got his auctioneer license and has worked for the company the last 20 years. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it still gives me the freedom to cowboy. We do a lot of city surplus, estates, cars – anything you want sold. I still practice and work on it every day, just like roping. There’s too many young auctioneers and ropers that will beat you if you don’t stay on top of game.
“My goal is to stay sharp and keep helping everybody. As we go into 2017, I’ll be 60 years old, and probably one of the oldest competitors in the SPRA, so it’s a neat place to go and still compete at my age. This year, I’ll hopefully rope with my son in the finals, and that’s going to be really special.”