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. […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Destry Graham
story by Lindsay King
“If you put your mind to it and believe, then anything is possible.” This is the mantra Destry Graham has always roped by and it’s served him well over the years. This Sallisaw, Oklahoma, header is no stranger to the pay window as he’s made three appearances at the Prairie Circuit finals and roped at the Ram National Circuit Finals once, back when they were in Oklahoma City. “When I first started roping I did the breakaway, but moved up to the team roping when I got older. I always wanted to rope, but when I was in high school I started to steer wrestle some.” Destry still enters the big man event on occasion. This year he’s jumped off more horses than he expected to. “I’ve entered in the bull dogging enough that I am winning the all around and have qualified for the finals in it.”
Even though Destry is primarily a header, in 2006 he won himself a truck roping on the heel side of things. He’s following in his dad’s footsteps in both the team roping and steer wrestling. “At two weeks old I was at the CRRA finals watching my dad compete. I’ve literally been around rodeo forever.” Destry has watched team roping evolving the past 25 years as the numbering system took hold. “Team roping is an event that is very competitive now thanks to the number system. You can compete against people on your level.” The prospect of roping well into his seventies is appealing for Destry. It doesn’t take a toll on the body the way steer wrestling does.
At the ACRA finals last November, Destry was in the running to win the team roping year end award. He came in second, but has swing with new intensity this year. It’s been enough to keep him in the lead of both the all around and heading race by a significant amount. “Once I realized I had a shot at winning the all around, I started entering the steer wrestling some more. I didn’t set out to win it, but once I got started and things were going well that turned into my goal for the year.” For the last two years Destry has roped with Nicky Simmons. The pair have roped together for years, but only now are they exclusive. “It’s worked out pretty well for us. We aren’t old by any means, but we are older and have qualified for plenty of finals. We have fun weather we win or lose and that keeps it enjoyable.”
Destry isn’t one to get nervous when he’s backing in the box unless he’s at a finals rodeo. “I just try to clear everything out and do my job. I don’t get jitters that often, but when I do I try to use them to my advantage. There’s a quote that talks about being nervous and either you perform 15% better or worse because of it, so you have to pick what works for you.” In both high school and college rodeo, Destry made trips to the finals three of the four years he was eligible. He won his region will competing for Connor’s State College and was also a reserve national champion.
As a 20-year member of the ACRA, Destry has watched the rodeo family atmosphere come full circle. Destry and his wife, Ashley, welcomed their daughter, Adessa, to the world on September 9, 2019. She’s likely going to grow up in rodeo just like Destry did. “What’s great about the rodeo world is people have kids, but they still keep competing. It’s a blessing that there is always somebody to watch your kids while you rope and you’ll do the same for them.” Destry doesn’t plan on hanging up his rope anytime soon.