story by Michele Toberer Dale Davies has been blessed to live a life centered around horses and rodeo. Growing up in Fort Collins, Colorado as […]
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Meet the Member Jeff Frizzell
story by Lily Weinacht
Jeff Frizzell of Marana, Ariz., was well acquainted with the rodeo trail from a young age. An only child, he followed his parents as they zigzagged across the U.S. His dad, Harold, worked as a pickup man and rodeo judge, while also competing in tie-down roping and steer wrestling, and Jeff’s mom, Cindy, barrel raced and served as a rodeo secretary. Jeff grabbed the reins of his own rodeo career when he was seven, and never slackened his hold.
Now 52, Jeff competes in the GCPRA and NSPRA in the very same events as his dad. “Rodeo is what I’ve always loved to do, and it’s something I’ll do until I can’t anymore!” he says. “There have been some people who have tried to get me to retire, and maybe I’m not as handy as I was 30 years ago, but the rodeos still give me checks here and there, and I’m still competitive.”
Jeff has used his knowledge of the sport to coach other cowboys in steer wrestling and tie-down roping. “What I’ve learned from the old timers, I’ve tried to pass on as much as I can,” he explains. “I bull dogged all day with Tom Ferguson one time when I was younger, and I learned more about it in that one day than I could have in my entire life! And of course, I look up to my dad for roping calves. He was a master at making calf horses, and he taught me that you can learn something from everybody, whether good or bad.”
Jeff and his wife, Virginia, live just outside Marana with their 17-year-old daughter, McKenzie. Their other daughter, Caitlin (21), is going to school at University of Arizona, though she hopes to start rodeoing again soon. Virginia ropes and runs barrels, and although much of her time is occupied with starting a cleaning business, she continues to haze for Jeff as she’s done for many years. When he competed in the PRCA Turquoise Circuit and qualified for the Dodge National Circuit Finals in Pocatello, Idaho, Virginia hazed for Jeff, where they won the finals average. Rusty and Maria Hamilton also competed in the steer wrestling at the circuit finals, with Maria hazing for Rusty. “Virginia has hazed for me at every major rodeo I’ve competed in, except maybe Cheyenne,” Jeff recalls. “She’s worked hard at it!”
These days, Jeff is rodeoing in the GCPRA with McKenzie, who is a breakaway roper. She plans to start filling her PRCA permit next year, and Jeff anticipates renewing his card with the Turquoise Circuit as well. In the meantime, he works for fellow GCPRA competitor Clay Parsons at his sale barn, Marana Stockyards. Jeff also rides colts and does ranch work in the area, though his favorite part of the day is spent in the saddle with his own horses. Roany, his tie-down horse, is still being seasoned, while Champ is his mount in the steer wrestling, and Roho is both a hazing, heading, and breakaway horse. Any remaining time is spent putting on a rodeo once a week at White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, which belongs to the True family.
“I don’t have so many goals for myself anymore, but McKenzie’s goal is to rodeo and travel more, and I’m going to do all I can to help her and Caitlin. But I’m 52 and I do want to bull dog until I’m at least 60. We can hope!” he concludes with a chuckle. “And as long as there are good horses available, I’ll keep making horses. You never know what they will turn into.”