story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
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Meet the Member Daniel Raynor
story by Michele Toberer
Daniel Raynor, a 36-year-old heeler that has sat atop many leaderboards over his rodeo career, is experiencing first-time excitement as he holds a commanding lead as the top rookie heeler of the International Professional Rodeo Association. “I feel like the oldest rookie ever. I’ve competed in many associations over the years, but this is my first year in the IPRA. I never thought I could travel enough to give it a shot, but this year I decided to give it a go and it’s been going well.”
Daniel grew up in Benson, North Carolina with his parents, Danny and Judy, and older sister, Wendy. He also has an older brother, Marty Jacumin. Danny Raynor had calf roped in his youth and although he stopped roping before Daniel was born, he obviously passed the roping gene onto his only son. Daniel stumbled across one of his dad’s old ropes in the barn and has hardly put one down since. “I found that rope when I was 11 and I just started playing with it and until I got pretty decent at it, and my roping has evolved from there.” Daniel’s dad, as well as neighbors, Kyle Stewart and family, helped him with techniques to begin with and after roping the dummy every day for years, Daniel’s own roping style developed. Although he started out as a header, he’s spent more time heeling in the last several years.
Daniel roped in the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association, qualifying for national finals all four years of competition. He won the NCHSRA State Champion Header title with partner Cole Hudgens in 11th grade, and with Josh Austin his senior year. “My dad loved that I roped. He hauled me to rodeos before I could drive, to national finals three years, to the USTRC finals in Oklahoma, or wherever I needed to be. He really enjoyed it, and it was a real loss when he passed away in 2009 after battling cancer. Although I’ve won titles in different associations, my dad would love that I am roping in the IPRA this year, and it would mean a lot to me to qualify to the IFR; I’d like to do it for my dad.”
Now living in Four Oaks, with wife Elizabeth and daughters, Riley, 12, and Rachel, 7; Daniel works as a supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Elizabeth is an elementary school teacher. Daniel’s current header, Daniel McLamb, convinced him to buy his IPRA card this season after the duo started roping together last year. Daniel had been competing at jackpots the past several years, so switching to rodeos again when he partnered with McLamb, was a welcome change. Daniel is grateful to ride his partner’s 12-year-old sorrel heel horse, Bullet, at IPRA rodeos.
Daniel is as competitive as they come and claims that over the years learning to lose was a hard lesson to take but was equally as important as learning to win. “I see my daughters get frustrated if things get hard, and I know I have to be an example to them on how to do better. I’ve learned to enjoy rodeo more than only focusing on winning. No matter how much you want to win, you have to take the good with the bad.” Daniel has enjoyed his recent Cowboy Christmas run to IPRA rodeos up north, “It was a good time and we had good fellowship with the other ropers.”
Daniel obtained his license to officiate weddings a few years ago to help a friend and has officiated 5 weddings since. He’s honored to have been a part of his best friend, Brian Barefoot’s wedding. “Brian is the guy that I can talk to if I have a problem and he’s been very influential in my life; it was special to be a part of his wedding.”
Enjoying the rodeo journey and intent on making as many rodeos as he can the remainder of the season, Daniel is hopeful to make an appearance at the IFR in the end. “I’m especially grateful to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and my family that has supported me through everything.” Daniel is also appreciative of sponsors, Lonestar Ropes and Mule City Feeds.