Meet the Member Andee Jo Haden
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. […]
story by Lindsay King
Many little boys aspire to heel a steer or tie-down a calf, but very few have a burning desire to become a steer roper. Of course, with a name like John Wayne Giles, this Vinita, Oklahoma, native was destined to be a bit punchier than the rest. “When I originally started rodeo I wanted to be a steer tripper and that’s just not something you go straight into. You have to start with something else, so I started team roping and really found a passion for it.” At thirteen years old, John watched his close friends dive into rodeo and he followed suit. “I have been around horses all my life. When I was just a few weeks old, my parents put me in a basket and took me to my first rodeo. That kind of became a tradition.” John grew up riding and roping on the small family ranch, but he’s the first generation to find and pursue an interest in rodeo.
“I was interested in the bull riding when I was little and found out real fast that wasn’t what I wanted to do. My dad put me on a steer and I got the wind knocked out of me and I decided right then and there that I was done with that.” It was all about heading from then on. Growing up, John team roped with his best friend, Casey McGuire. Casey’s dad was a steer wrestler and got John into the event through high school and college rodeo. John rodeoed for Rogers State University and obtained his marketing degree. Once in high school and once in college rodeo, John missed making nationals in the team roping by the skin of his teeth.
For the last seven years John has fulfilled his childhood dreams of steer roping. “It probably would have been an easier transition from calf roping than it was from team roping. I could catch horns sure, but I have always been a reacher and you have to get really close.” The finesse of calf roping makes John believe he would’ve picked up the event quicker if he had already been stepping off a horse to tie legs. “I just watch the other guys to learn and ask questions. One of my neighbors (Jake McCoin) provides the steers for the event and he is a good friend. He has helped me quite a bit.” The first rodeo John entered in the steer roping was not only in the PRCA but at the rodeo he grew up attending. “I stepped off to go tie my steer and blew my knee out. I was sidelined for about six months after that.” That was in 2013.
The Vinita PRCA rodeo is one of the few that still showcases steer roping in the performance. “Their pro rodeo didn’t have team roping for the longest time, it’s only been in the last 10-15 years they have added it to the performance. All I remember from when I was little was watching the steer roping.” Team roping is an addictive event with many competitors and generally few spectators. “Once you do steer roping it is way more addictive than team roping ever thought about being. Some people like to watch it and others don’t just because they don’t understand what is going on.” John still enjoys team roping and enters both events regularly.
John started this season with big plans to hit the rodeo trail a lot. “I was even going to team rope a bunch this year, but I couldn’t find a partner.” John’s horse had some minor injuries that made John decide team roping was the route to go for 2019 as it would be less demanding, but that just didn’t pan out for him this year. “I have just been hitting some of the amateur steer ropings. I am hoping to make the top fifteen so I can go to the ACRA finals.” As the ACRA steer roping director, John understands the stiff competition he is up against to reach this goal. “Most amateur rodeos you might get one or two guys that make the NFR, but that’s not the case in the ACRA. When you enter a steer roping in Oklahoma you are guaranteed to be roping against at least five of the top guys in the world.”
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