Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Meet the Member Paxton Rodriguez
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Over 240,000 people have seen Paxton Rodriguez’s work.
That’s because his Tik Tok account, Boy_With_Rope, has that many followers.
The Midstates Rodeo Association member, a resident of Clayton, Mich., is a trick roper, along with being a tie-down roper, team roper, and steer wrestler.
At 21 years old, he’s the fourth generation of his family to be involved in rodeo, the third generation in the MidStates. His parents, Raul and Polly, are still active members, competing in the team roping and breakaway, respectively, and Raul’s dad, Roy, was a member. Raul’s granddad (and Paxton’s great-granddad), Juan “John” Rodriguez, was a Midwest Cowboy Association member. Roy won the MidStates tie-down roping titles in 1978 and 1983.
A student at Adrian (Mich.) College, Paxton is working towards a degree in physics. He’s not sure which direction he’ll take with his degree. “I like the mechanical engineering side of it,” he said, “maybe something in the auto industry. Right now, it’s pretty broad. I didn’t want to get anything too specific.”
He’s taken some tough classes for the physics degree, including Calculus 1, 2 and 3, classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Calculus 3 was tough, he said. “There’s a lot more letters than there are numbers, and it gets confusing, to say the least.”
He compares quantum mechanics to the formulas and equations that Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory does on the show, and he’s noticed the similarity between equations on the show and equations he’s worked. “I never thought when I watched that show, that I’d be doing what Sheldon did.”
In addition to competition, Paxton is a trick roper. When he was a kid, he saw a trick roper at a rodeo and asked his dad to teach him. His dad taught him two simple tricks, and Paxton added more tricks. He’s grateful to pro trick ropers Rider Kiesner and Anthony Lucia for answering his questions and helping him out.
He’s performed at a variety of rodeos, beginning at the age of fifteen. The first couple of events, he had some stage fright, but he got tips from his uncle, Ryan Rodriguez, a PRCA rodeo clown, including some good advice for working an indoor arena with a dark house and a spotlight. “My uncle Ryan said, when you go out there, whatever you do, don’t look at the light. After a minute or two, I glanced at it, and I said, ‘oh, yeah, I see why now,’” he laughed.
In fact, it was his trick roping that got him a couple hundred thousand followers on Tik Tok.
A friend convinced him to post a few of his roping videos on the platform. Paxton didn’t think they would take off, but they did. He posts videos of him at rodeos or roping he does around the house.
His Tik Tok handle came about from a rodeo where he was performing. Once, at a bull riding where he was the specialty act, he saw the production sheet, and instead of listing him as “specialty act” or “trick roper,” they called him “boy with rope.” The announcer used it as his nickname, and the name stuck.
Paxton chose to not rodeo collegiately but does the Midstates instead. “To me, it wasn’t the best financial decision” to compete in college. “I’d have to drive farther, being in Michigan.”
He’s considering getting his PRCA membership as a specialty act and trick roping after he graduates from college, in May of next year.
The Midstates finals are the first weekend in October, and he’s qualified in the tie-down in first place and in second place in the steer wrestling. He and his dad, his header, are one hole out of a trip to the finals in the team roping. This is his second Midstates finals; he competed there in 2019, and also competes in the International Pro Rodeo Association.
He has a younger brother, Preston, who is fourteen years old.