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
“My whole life I have just loved to rope, I have never wanted to be known for one event. I love to rope and ride great horses. I have been fortunate to do both my entire life,” said Blake Deckard, Eufaula, Oklahoma, a triple-threat roper. Every single day Blake swings a rope for his three events: steer roping, team roping and tie-down. “There is no certain event I like to do over the other. Give me a rope and a good horse and just tell me what event to do, then I am happy.” The longtime ACRA competitor, 13 years to be exact, grew up learning how to rope from Roy Cooper and learning how to win and lose from Trevor Brazile.
“I met Tuf Cooper when I was 11 years old, we have been great friends ever since. I started going to rope with Tuf in high school and at that time he didn’t steer rope so I started practicing with Trevor.” Blake spent countless hours helping Trevor get ready to compete. In return, Trevor helped Blake with his roping, horsemanship, mental game, anything he could think of really. “If I had to spend seven hours cleaning stalls or saddling horses just to get an hour with him helping me, it was worth it. Trevor’s work ethic is unmatched, he works from dawn to dusk. I just love to rope and be around someone like that. Iron sharpens iron.”
With a goal to rodeo full time at 30 years old, Blake believes he is starting a little late in the game. “You never know what could happen or who will be the next great thing. I want to give myself that chance. My wife Audra and I have put a lot of time and energy into our place so we can have somewhere to come home to. I am so thankful we have taken the time to do so.” Blake has taken a few shots at making the NFR, but works every day to make it a reality in the next few years. He would be happy to make it in any of his events, but seems to have the most success in his toughest event. “I was 30th in the world in the steer roping in 2018. But I did make the circuit finals as well as the American finals in Waco and the ACRA.” In just a matter of six ACRA rodeos Blake managed to make the finals in the steer roping, winning over $8,000. He took home third in the average for the steer roping.
“The ACRA is a good stepping stone for those who want to rodeo for a living. It teaches you how to rodeo and how to win. It’s not easy, the guys competing in the association all have jobs and families but they also have the talent to make the NFR.” Blake is thankful for all the good Lord has blessed him with: a talent and love for rodeo and an association close to home allowing him to live out both. After his rodeo days as a competitor are behind him, Blake wants to break into the performance horse industry and build his brand as a rope horse trainer. “I have been fortunate to be around and own some great horses, but until you are around a great trainer you don’t understand what it takes to make a great horse. I am looking forward to dedicating my career to just that at some point.”
It goes without saying, Blake has worked his way to this point in his career. But he humbly gives credit to his parents for getting him started early. “They did everything for me growing up. Most kids only competed in one association, but we usually went to two in one night.” His earliest memories of competing date back to 1997, when Blake was just seven years old. But something sticking with him through the triumphs and turmoil comes from his dad. “He always said you can’t love a pillow and be in the horse industry. You have to get up and take care of business.”
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