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 Zack Hester
story by Michele Toberer
Alabama cowboy, Zack Hester has recently moved to Florida, where he works as a boring technician for Walton Construction. The company drills underground to install gas and water lines, and Zack is responsible for guiding the drill, keeping track of how deep it is, and the temperatures of the ground and equipment. Although he has just been there for three months, he already has a regular pattern for team roping built into his new schedule.
Zack, 26, was born and raised in Millbrook, Alabama with his younger sister, Jerilyn, and parents Michael and Cindy Hester. Cindy works in the school system, and Michael respectfully served our country in the National Guard for over 22 years, before he passed away in 2014. He was an Alabama High School Rodeo Association alumni competing in tie-down roping, team roping and cutting, but after, had sold all his horses and gear. It was Zack’s cousins and uncles that were still rodeoing, that sparked the interest in rodeo for him. Once he verbalized his interest, at 12 years old, his family rallied around him to get him started. He began roping a hay bale fixed with a steer head, roping it repeatedly, figuring out his technique, and by the time he was 13 he had his own horse to rope live cattle from. “They’d tell me, just run down and throw your rope, but if you catch, don’t dally, but I’d catch and dally anyways.” He started out heading but quickly realized he preferred heeling. “Heading is a lot of work, and I didn’t want to sign up for all of that, I have always liked heeling.” Zack competed in the AHSRA in tie-down roping and team roping, attending national finals in 2010. He often finds himself in the situation to need to head for someone at a roping, but he truly wishes to only heel, all the time.
Zack’s bosses, Earl Stafford and Robby Ammons, have a roping pen and there is a group of guys that get together to rope every day after work. Zack recently won the #10 roping with Robby’s son Cliff, at the USTRC South Alabama Championships. Besides rodeos, Zack often competes at NTRL, USTRC and World Series ropings. Although he now lives in Florida, Zack still spends a lot of time roping in Alabama and has started his rookie year with the Southeast Professional Rodeo Association and the Professional Cowboy Association. He heels for partners, Jesse Cook and Cory Owens, who he has been roping with since the beginning of the year. The trio is happy with their success so far this season; they have attended 8 of the season’s SPRA rodeos and have been in the money at 6 of them. Zack is currently leading the standings in the spot of top heeler, Jesse is third place header and Cory is fifth place header. They are determined to keep on this same track and qualify for the SPRA finals.
When Zack is back in Alabama, he checks on his herd of cattle he’s built up and keeps at his family farm. He enjoys having the annual income of selling the calves and has his herd built to a manageable size for him; his mom helps care for them when he’s not there. Zack owns two rope horses that he heels on. A year ago, he purchased “Black,” which is an experienced 17 year old Quarter Horse that has been to the PCA and PRCA circuit finals with his previous owner. Rolex is a 10 year old, roan Quarter Horse that Zack has owned for four years. Rolex tore his tendon in his right front leg and was turned out for over a year to allow the tendon to heal. Zack was very grateful to ride him at his first rodeo back, a few weeks ago, and see the time off did Rolex well, as they won the Jasper, Alabama rodeo. When Zack is not working or roping he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Ashley Hood, and his two blue heeler cattle dogs, Bo and Bandit. His goals for the future are to try to win the SPRA Champion Heeler title as many times as he can.