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 Paul Carmen
Story by Lily Weinacht
GCPRA president Paul Carmen is stepping down from the board of directors this coming January after five years serving in a role that he pursued with enthusiasm. The 55 year old tie-down roper from Buckeye, Ariz., first joined the GCPRA in the mid ‘90s, having recently returned to the sport he had put on hold to pursue his career as a firefighter. “When I started as the president, I wasn’t interested at all,” Paul admits. “I was the tie-down roping director at the time and I enjoyed representing my event, but then I was approached by my good friend, who was the president of the association at the time, and he talked me into taking the position.”
Not one to do anything by halves, Paul took his new role seriously and found he was brimming with ideas for the association. “It ended up being an opportunity for me to incorporate some of my goals into the GCPRA, and I was fortunate to have a board that put their trust in me and gave me free rein to do some new things. It snowballed, and next thing we knew, we were out of Arizona and into Colorado, New Mexico, and California!” says Paul. Since then, the GCPRA membership has more than doubled, and corporate sponsors have been brought on. “I think a big part of being a successful president is building relationships with people, treating them fairly, and doing what you say you’re going to do,” Paul explains. “Our state secretary, Andi Tedder, is another reason for our success, and I owe her the world!” In January, GCPRA team roping director Rob Deeran will step in as the next president, while Paul is planning to stick close to the association, though primarily as a contestant.
Paul is a first generation rodeo competitor, and though his family took him to junior rodeos, it was up to Paul to find help – or teach himself. He rode bareback horses and bulls, but particularly took to team roping, which he competed in until entering the Phoenix Fire Academy. After graduating from the academy in 1985, Paul devoted the bulk of his energy to his work as a paramedic and firefighter, promoted first to engineer and driving the fire engines before moving on to battalion chief, and eventually, deputy chief.
“By the time I was 30, I was ready to get back into rodeo,” says Paul. “I got into tie-down roping, and I guess I was a late bloomer, but I had a lot of people helping me and I went to several schools. I joined the GCPRA and later started entering some of the smaller PRCA rodeos that my wife, Muffy, was barrel racing in.” Also a member of the NSPRA, Paul competed in the association’s finals in Las Vegas, as well as the incentive tie-down roping in the GCPRA finals this year. “That rodeo is always double duty for me because I produce the finals, so to take time and get ready to compete can be tough,” says Paul.
He and Muffy make their home near Buckeye, where they have his and hers arenas. “We have a full size team roping arena that my wife barrel races in, and I have a lighted roping lane,” Paul explains. His horses include a 13-year-old sorrel named Ranger that he bought from PRCA tie-down roper Jake Hannum, as well as a 15-year-old Paint named Bull’s Eye.
Paul and Muffy also enjoy hosting their friends, the Motleys, who come down to visit from Colorado during the winter, and though they love to downhill ski, it’s more likely the husband and wife are loading up their horses and dogs for another roping or barrel race. “I’m really into fitness – I’m very passionate about it – and my goal is to stay fit and be a better tie-down roper,” says Paul. “I’d also like to make the Turquoise Circuit finals. At my age, I think that would be quite an accomplishment!”