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Meet the Member Roy Durfey
story by Lindsay King
A small boy, calf and an even smaller pony started it all for Roy Durfey of rural Savannah, Missouri. The memory comes back to him from his first home in South Dakota when he roped a calf and it managed to drag him and the pony along behind it. “My dad laughed his butt off at that one. I was about ten years old when I started a couple of ponies for the neighbors,” said the long-time calf roper. He’s swung a leg over a horse just about every single day ever since. In 1967 Roy graduated high school and took his rightful place on the national stage at the NHSFR in calf roping, steer wrestling and bull riding. That same summer he sold everything he owned with the intent of volunteering for the draft. “I was going to fight in Vietnam, but I flunked my physical exam. My dad fought in World War II. He was on one of the first boats to hit Normandy Beach. He told me he fought enough for the both of us, that I should just live my life.”
Never a fan of the cold in South Dakota, Roy took off for Phoenix, Arizona, where he would winter for 14 years of his life. When he first got there, he galloped race horses and roped on the lone ranch horse he brought with him. “I ran into a guy named Homer Pettigrew, he helped me more than anybody with my roping.” At just 19 years old, Roy bought his PRCA permit and subsequently his card. Though he was never able to compete full-time, the pride in his smile comes from the horses he’s made out of virtually nothing. “Basically, any horse I have ever hauled, I made myself. I am still riding horses for the public now. It seems like I always have something for sale.” With so many horses passing through his life, it comes as no surprise that Roy has a couple that stand out.
Roy found himself settling in Missouri in the early 80s. In 1983 he put up an indoor arena, started hosting roping schools and his third son Tyson was born. “Kenny Bates helped me for years and years with the roping school. On the second day of the first school we ever did together, Tyson was born. I have had schools every year since.” As Roy begins to throttle down, he hosts more private roping lessons than clinics. But the second round of his rodeo career is just getting started. In his first year competing in the NSPRA, Roy qualified for the finals in tie-down, breakaway and ribbon roping. “I had some young colts that had never been off the place so I decided to take them to some NSPRA rodeos. I met a lot of new people and ones I had forgotten about.” Old relationships rekindled after more than 30 years are a big reason why Roy plans to rodeo more in 2019. “We are going to see if we can get some NSPRA rodeos going up in this country. Everybody going to these rodeos are just there to have fun and help each other. I truly enjoyed it.”