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. […]
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Meet the Member Nicky Simmons
story by Lindsay King
After just missing his chance at the 2005 NFR by a mere $400, Nicky Simmons packed up and headed home to Colcord, Oklahoma. This life-long team roper hit the rodeo trail hard at just fifteen years old and didn’t let up until his 25th year of life. “I was pretty broke after that, so we had to come home and make a living doing something else for a while. Rodeoing for a living is a tricky trade,” said the two-time IPRA world champion heeler. Nicky roped his first steer when he was only four, it’s simply what he grew up doing. It’s a sport he knows from the inside out.
“I have probably 400 team roping steers and about 500 commercial mama cows. We lease steers and calves to rodeo companies, I have cattle for every timed event out there.” Nick Simmons Ranch buys their rodeo cattle rather than raising them because it just makes the most business sense. “Big Rafter Rodeo is my uncle’s company and I have helped him out some so I can kind of figure it all out.” Nicky grew up in the ranching world, it’s also something he knows like the back of his hand.
Growing up with three older brothers who almost exclusively headed, Nicky naturally took his place on the heel side. “I am kind of the only of the four that really rodeoed a lot. As my brothers got older they found other things they wanted to do other than roping.” Nicky is actually the grandson of Floyd Andrews who holds a place in the California Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oakdale. “My parents and grandpa Floyd helped me more than anything. It was always just a family deal where everyone was willing to help each other.”
Branching off into steer roping, Nicky has also provided cattle for the Osage Steer Roping Club event held in Pawhuska. “I have just started steer roping on and off. It is pretty good watching in Pawhuska. I can sure learn something there. All the top guys show up.” One thing Nicky doesn’t need many pointers on is team roping, he’s won the ACRA year end at least four times and the average a couple of times. He’s also made the prairie circuit finals twice. “Traveling on the PRCA circuit is what I call rodeoing, what I do around here isn’t what I would call a hobby but I don’t know what to name it.” Now that Nicky has kids, staying close to home is his main priority.
Seven-year-old Gracie regularly enters the peewee barrels and Denver, 3, enjoys riding his pony in the grand entry. “It is a lot more fun to be able to enjoy it with the family than it is to be gone. Before the kids, my wife Somer went with me as much as she could.” For now, Nicky just plans to keep on keeping on. “My kids seem to like it right now, so we will do everything we can to help them get better every day.”
After almost 20 years with an ACRA card, the association feels like home for Nicky. “It just seems like a family-run, family-owned type of deal even though that’s not how an association works.” Of all the ACRA rodeos Nicky attends, his hometown event is hands-down his favorite. “I have to say that because it is my hometown even though I have had bad luck there every year. I provided the steers for it this year.” Being away from family is the hardest part for Nicky outside of the arena, but the ever-evolving sport of team roping is also a challenge. “The event is always changing and people are always getting better. If you aren’t practicing then the next guy is, so you have to stay tuned up. It seems like everyone ropes and gets to practice every day so you have to be ready.”