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. […]
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Meet the Member Austin Lawrence
story by Lindsay King
Sometimes the rope in Austin Lawrence’s hand is for calves and other times it is destined for the neck of unruly roughstock. The Sperry, Oklahoma, calf roper started helping his grandpa Seago pickup rodeos when he was only nine years old. “I have gone pretty much everywhere with my grandpa and through that he has taught me everything I know,” said the first-time ACRA card holder. Holding himself up in a saddle at just two years old, Austin subsequently started throwing a loop just two years later. “I started out team roping, but once I started calf roping I fell in love with it and never looked back. I helped my grandpa pickup for about five years before I decided to rodeo for myself rather than work at them.”
Grandpa Seago spends most of his time watching Austin compete, only working two to three rodeos a year now. “Grandpa tries to go everywhere he can with me, along with my mom (Charlotte Seago) and my grandma (Seago).” Rodeo has “technically” been Austin’s entire life, other than the sports he dabbled in during high school. “Rodeo is always something we do as a family and I love every minute of it. It taught me everything I know about competing and being respectful of people, the cowboy way of life really.” Austin first tried his hand at riding bulls. Even though he was decent at it, roping with his grandpa was more appealing. He feels blessed to live out the cowboy code day in and out; and simply would not trade it for anything.
Austin worked for Elzy Harrison of Harrison Performance Horses in Tulsa during high school before giving college a shot last fall. Deciding his heart was with horses more than it was in school, he started working for Elzy again in January. Together, the pair trains and shows calf and team roping horses in the AQHA. “Calf roping is where it’s at for me, I like that I don’t have to depend on anybody but myself. I have never had much luck with team roping and that eventually got to me. I like that calf roping is a more active event, that makes it interesting to me.”
Taking the stance to be confident, yet not arrogant, Austin sometimes finds this difficult when he knows what his competition is capable of. “I try to zone everything out except what I am doing. I focus on my scoring and making the neck rope sharp. The mental part of rodeo is everything in this sport.” Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw on your stock, Austin knows his calf can make or break him when it comes to making a quick run. Finishing in the top 50 at the junior American tie-down roping is one of Austin’s highlights inside the arena. He hopes the rest of the 2019 season will be full of mile-marking highlights as he prepares for a professional rodeo career.
“I have had a lot of people talk about how great the ACRA is – how well they are ran and that they are close to home. I figured I would try to follow an association and see how well I did. And to find out if I am mentally prepared to compete against high caliber ropers before I jump into the PRCA.” His experience with the association so far is all positive – from great secretaries to stock contractors who know their animals – Austin has been impressed at each rodeo he has entered. “Everyone does their best to help all the contestants have the best possible shot at making the finals. It’s my goal to make the finals and win the year-end of course, but I would be pretty happy if I placed in the top five. My primary goal this year is to win rookie of the year and see how well I compete with these guys, they will let me know if I am as good as I’d like to think I am.”