Meet the Member Andee Jo Haden
story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
story by Lindsay King
Hundreds of miles, one horse and two events, this basically sums up the rodeo life of Ralph and Sallye Williams from Skiatook, Oklahoma. They both grew up in the same area but did not get together until they were at Claremore Junior College together. “When we were little kids our mothers played in an adult basketball league together.” They went their separate ways to finish out their degrees, Sallye at Southwestern Oklahoma State University majoring in secondary education and Ralph at Southeastern Oklahoma State University majoring in business finance. For 29 years Sallye has worked as a math teacher, 14 years were spent at Owasso Public Schools and the last 15 at Skiatook Public Schools. A third generation rancher, Ralph cared for the cattle while training rope horses for 35 years. Their nearest neighbor happens to be their son Cole who is married to Laurianne. Their 21-month-old son is named Ralph Coleson, after his grandfather. Cole roped in junior rodeos but now races four-wheelers instead. Now that Sallye is retired from teaching she babysits her grandson during the week. Their daughter Cooweesta is also a teacher but works on the Williams Ranch with her dad during the summer and breakaway ropes with her mom on the weekends. “She goes with Ralph and I to all the rodeos she can now.”
Colt, a 1997 model, sorrel Quarter Horse was named the American Cowboy Rodeo Association Barrel Horse of the Year 2007 through 2011. For eight consecutive years he was the only horse Ralph and Sallye hauled. “When we would go to the rodeos Ralph would team rope off him and I would run barrels on him.” Bought from Ralph’s uncle, John Israel, for team roping but Sallye decided to teach him the barrel pattern. “He just took off with it, he did a great job.” He took both Sallye and Ralph to the ACRA finals every year since 2007. Astride Colt Sallye raced to the ACRA championship barrel title in 2007, 2009 and 2011 as well as a reserve title in 2008. In 2015, at the age of 18 Colt was retired from barrels. Now 20, he still team ropes. A talented steer roper, Ralph rides Snoopy, a 21-year-old sorrel Quarter Horse gelding. The first year the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association National Circuit finals had steer roping, Ralph and Snoopy were there to snag the title in 2010. Luckily, ACRA regularly has steer roping also. At least six saddles line the walls of their tack room for barrel racing and steer roping. Sallye has been seasoning a new barrel horse, Herbie, ever since Colt was retired three years ago. “He was kind of a blown up futurity horse. We just rode him out in the pasture for a few years to work out his problems.” Herbie is a 12-year-old bay appendix Quarter Horse. One of his first rodeos was the ACRA finals in 2015 where he won the average.
“We don’t take vacations; rodeo is like a vacation for us.” The couple runs down the rodeo road not only for the ACRA but they also compete in the Indian association taking them to the Indian National Finals Rodeo for many years. After winning the ACRA finals on Herbie in 2015, which also was one of his very first rodeos, Sallye hauled him to Las Vegas to win the INFR world championship. Their rodeo career has taken them to the Pendleton Roundup in Oregon all the way down the shores of Florida. “We like to the see sights and travel all over the country for rodeo.” Sometimes Sallye and Ralph do not go to the same events because it does not have steer roping. “We like to go to ACRA rodeos because they are a little closer and they have good finals.” Both Sallye and Ralph have served as ACRA directors at one point or another, they are now alternates. “Everybody asks Ralph about the steer roping because he has been doing it for so long and so well.”
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