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Meet the Member Dustin Egusquiza
story by Lily Weinacht
Although 2015 was Dustin Egusquiza’s rookie year in the IPRA, the 20-year-old header from Marianna, Fla., is no rookie with a rope. He grew up learning to rope from his dad, Manny Egusquiza, and competed in both team roping and tie-down roping through high school. Thus, when four-time IPRA World Champion Heeler Stephen Britnell asked Dustin to head for him during the 2015 season, it was the making of a solid partnership. Dustin and Stephen competed in 25 rodeos together over the course of the season, primarily in the North. They went into IFR46 sitting second, and the $7,200 Dustin won in three rounds sent him to first place. “Honestly, I didn’t have that strong of a season – I had a lot of ups and downs with my roping – but I had a really good finals,” says Dustin, who was able to make up the $4,000 between him and first place. “The IFR was a great time – I’m glad I went! I’ve been to Oklahoma City before for the USTRC finals, so if I wasn’t roping, I was eating at the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse.”
The IPRA is one of the first association’s Dustin bought a card with. He didn’t start rodeoing until high school, competing mainly in ropings and jackpots beforehand. He qualified for the NHSFR all three years he high school rodeoed in Alabama, winning the state team roping title with heeler Jason Garcia their senior year. “I placed in the tie-down roping at Nationals, but never team roping,” says Dustin, who has since chosen to focus his energy on team roping alone. “I just wasn’t as devoted to tie-down. My brother, Manny Jr., has won the World in the IPRA team roping, and he helps critique me. We rope together in jackpots, where we’ll switch it up so that I heel and he heads.”
Dustin’s dad passed away in April of 2015, but Dustin will always look to him as a role model and the one who introduced him to his dream career. “I didn’t try to rodeo for a living until a few years ago. It’s really the only thing I’m good at!” Dustin jokes. “I love what I do, and I love travelling. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
When he’s not on the rodeo trail, Dustin calls Marianna, Fla., home. “I have steers and a lot of rope horses, so I’m roping every day. The horse I won the World on, Duke, is a bay that my dad trained as a two year old. We sold him when he was four and then bought him back a few years later, and ever since he’s been my good horse,” Dustin explains. “He’s what made me want to head in the rodeos – I felt like I had a good enough horse to compete on.” Dustin’s backup horse helped Manny win his IPRA world title several years ago. “I’m working on getting some more horsepower together, so I have a couple new horses in the works. I used to ride outside horses, but now I’d just rather have a rope horse to practice on,” says Dustin.
Though he might take an afternoon off to go fishing, Dustin rides and ropes 40 hours a week, plus overtime, his favorite Lone Star Rope – the Storm 4-Strand – in hand. He’ll be roping with Brad Culpepper this season, with plans to compete further west this year. “I really need to get some more horses together before I can go hard,” he says, “and I’d love to make the IPRA finals again next year.