story by Lindsay Humphrey “I was born carrying a rope.” It’s a bold statement from 14-year-old Gunnar Tipton who’s been roping calves and heels competitively […]
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Meet the Member Morgan Adams
story by Lindsay King
“I have had a rope in my hand since I was little. When I got on a horse and roped my first steer for my dad to heel, it was the best feeling in the world,” said Morgan Adams, a Taos, New Mexico, triple threat in the roping events. He heads, heels and ropes calves in the tie-down and ribbons. Although, it’s a no-brainer for Morgan that tie-down roping is his favorite. “Making a fast run in the tie-down is a whole lot more fun than a fast run in the team roping. You can’t have any mistakes for a calf run to be fast.” The 14-year-old lives for the adrenaline rush he feels when stepping off his horse. “There are so many things to focus on that have to be correct to be successful. I remember the first run I made that was fast. It was in the practice pen and I did not expect to be that fast. When I stepped off, the adrenaline and momentum took it from there. All the training just clicked.”
Rodeo hasn’t always been Morgan’s priority, he aspired to play in the NBA after picking the sport up in second grade. “I have been a basketball player my whole life. After I started rodeo (in 2017) I just decided there was nothing else I wanted to do. Rodeo has become such a big part of my life and I have so much fun doing it.” Morgan understands that practice makes perfect. When he isn’t roping live steers and calves, he’s throwing a loop at the dummy. He even has a barrel with a saddle on it so he can practice dismounting and tying his calf.
“There aren’t many people in Taos that rope, so I mostly rope with my family. My parents (John and Carol) are the biggest influences on my rodeo career so far.” John was once a professional roper and Morgan realizes just how blessed he is to learn from someone with that kind of experience. “My dad knows a lot about rodeo, it’s been fun learning from him. He always reminds me not to worry about what is coming up and to just try to control the things I can.” John distinctly remembers the first rodeo Morgan turned a steer for him. “He spun me a steer to place, unfortunately I was so chocked up in the box I don’t think I ever saw the steer,” Morgan’s dad recounted.
Morgan recognizes the power and inherent risk of competing on animals. “All the animals have their own mind. You can’t be afraid, you have to trust your horses and your training. Then just go for it.” This Taos Middle School eighth grader plans to grow up and become a rancher, after he competes in the Thomas and Mack of course. “I just loves animals, so I want to be able to work with and doctor cattle. Going out on the ranch, riding horses and looking for the cattle is the next best thing to roping in the arena.”
However, it is a rare occurrence to find Morgan outside of a roping pen, even during the winter months. His goal for the season is to rodeo and rope as much as possible at amateur rodeos and jackpots. “These people are better than me and they will help me get better the more I rope with them.” It’s this tough competition that drives Morgan to work harder and led him to an all-around buckle at the 4-H rodeo in Santa Fe and a championship tie-down title at the Tor C rodeo this last season. “I knew from the beginning it wasn’t going to be easy, that I had to work harder than I ever have before. I worked hard before these rodeos and it paid off for me.” Morgan is always right on the heels of his friend Jake Orris. “Every time he shows up at a rodeo, I try to be just as good or better than him in all my events. Going up against the kids in the NMJHSRA really challenges me to work harder, to get better.”