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Meet the Member Daniel Poole
story by Michele Toberer
Daniel Poole is the head rodeo coach at the University of Western Alabama and could almost pinch himself to make sure he really is waking up each morning to go to his dream job. Daniel was once a student athlete at the school, competing on the UWA rodeo team from 2006 through 2009 when he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology with an emphasis in Management. Little did he know at the time that those management skills would later be used to shape and manage a group of student rodeo athletes under his tutelage in the future. Little did his dad, Frank Poole, know when he brought him to the local professional rodeo in Lauderdale, Mississippi while he was a child, that it would lead his son down a path of rodeo that no one in his family had stepped foot on before. “I didn’t grow up in rodeo, but my dad would take me to the rodeo just 15 minutes from our house when I was a kid and it just got in my blood and never left. I thought being a cowboy was cool, and that’s what I knew I wanted to be.”
Daniel’s dad and grandpa both raised cattle on their family ranch in Emelle, Alabama; and when Daniel was 9 years old, his dad bought him a horse which Daniel rode in the pastures with the cattle and around their ranch for several years. As a sophomore in high school, Daniel’s friend, Alston Rush, introduced him to calf roping, and he often tied calves from the ground while Alston was practicing. When he was a junior, his parents set him up with roping lessons and he started focusing on becoming a header. Daniels dad, and his mom, Leigh Poole both worked as social workers. His parents and younger sister, Kristen, who is now a dentist, always supported his rodeo aspirations, but never had interest in giving it a try themselves.
After graduating from high school in 2005, Daniel spent a year at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Mississippi before transferring to UWA in 2006. “I came to UWA to team rope; but after just a couple weeks of being at UWA I had the opportunity to get on some practice bulls. I got on a few and rode the first couple that I got on. I just really took to it and ended up competing on the rodeo team as a bull rider and team roper for 3 ½ years.” After graduating from college, Daniel moved to Wyoming, and continued to ride bulls and team rope for several years in multiple associations. When the opportunity came up to work as an assistant rodeo coach in Alabama, Daniel went back to UWA and worked in that position for 4 years before taking the head position this past August. “Now I coach, raise bucking bulls and beef cattle, and train horses on our family ranch. I still ride bulls, and am team roping mainly as a hobby.”
Daniel started competing in the Southeastern Professional Rodeo Association when he moved back to Alabama in 2015 and made the SPRA season finals in bull riding in 2016. He is currently leading the bull riding standings and in 8th place in steer wrestling. “The SPRA does all they can to help the cowboy and be there for the cowboy. They put on some really good rodeos with good added money and give the cowboy a better chance to earn money and continue to rodeo. I’ve also been really pleased with the stock at SPRA rodeos, I haven’t drawn a bad one all year. I appreciate that they take the extra step to make sure they offer stock we want to get on.”
Although Daniel’s schedule is full, he likes to hog hunt with his dogs when he can. “Anything cowboy is about all I do. I enjoy the risks and rewards that come with rodeo. I’m so grateful to be in the position I am, so that I can pass on what I’ve learned and help our rodeo athletes get better both in and out of the arena. I love that I can promote rodeo and share my strong passion for it.”