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 Salvador Flores
story by Lily Weinacht
Salvador Flores is the third generation of men in his family to carry his name—and to carry a rope. The 28-year-old team roper from Buckeye, Arizona, is currently sitting 11th in the GCPRA heeler incentive standings. Born in Durango, Mexico, his grandfather, Salvador Flores, ran a ranch outside of town and Salvador’s dad, Salvador Flores II, put on rodeos at the ranch until the family moved north to Arizona when Salvador was 7. “I’ve been roping my whole life, and I love roping and rodeo,” says Salvador. “It’s very family oriented and you get to see all your buddies and friends and hang out. It’s where you catch up with everyone.”
He fine-tuned his roping skills by studying the same instructional video over and over growing up, as well as roping with his friend Colten Butler and his family. “Colten’s mom, Kelly, was our 4-H leader. She passed away, but she and her husband helped us with the horsemanship and handling steers,” Salvador recalls. He climbed the ladder to high school rodeos where he tie-down and team roped, and he also rodeoed for two years at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona. His senior year of high school, he and his younger brother, Armando Flores, qualified for the Silver State International Rodeo in 2009. Two years later, the brothers each won a truck at the 2011 La Fiesta Team Roping put on by Yost Events for winning the team roping average. At the time, Salvador was heading since his heel number was too high for the roping, but he prefers to heel.
Salvador joined the GCPRA in 2011 and qualified for the finals that year with partner Ryan Tripp. He’s competed off and on in the association since then and started the 2019 season by winning Lake Havasu, the second rodeo he entered. “I won second at Needles, California, and kept sticking with them,” says Salvador. He loves that he can enter multiple times, and ropes with headers AJ Lutz, Cooper Reidhead, and Nicole Baggarley in the incentive, and his brother Armando and Barrett Littell in the open. He competed in more jackpots than rodeos after college, but missed the rodeo atmosphere. “I like how competitive the GCPRA is and how you have to be aggressive. There’s no holding back.” His competitiveness has taken him to the World Series Finale in Las Vegas five times come December, and Salvador also watches World Series ropings from one of the best seats in the house as a flagger. As a teen, he started flagging for the roping jackpots his dad put on, and he began flagging World Series ropings for Jack Fuller two years ago.
His parents, Salvador and Irma, are always in the stands at the World Series Finale, and each year in March the family makes the 20-hour trip to Durango, Mexico, to help put on an annual memorial roping and jackpot in honor of Salvador’s grandfather. “We spend four days on the road and three days there. We’ve done for the last five or six years,” Salvador explains. “My grandpa started that arena back in the 1980s.” The family sticks together in Arizona as well, many of them working for the same electrical company, where Salvador’s dad is the project manager. Salvador is a communications technician, and if he’s not working with cables and wires, he has a Cactus rope in hand, practicing as often as possible at his friend’s arena. His roan mare Roany is recovering from an injury, so his brother’s horse Scooby has carried him to many of the GCPRA rodeos this season.
“I’d like to win the (GCPRA) year-end one of these years when I get my horses sound,” Salvador finishes. “I’ll probably get another horse so I can go a little harder and make the finals, and I’d also like to be able to make the short round at the World Series in Vegas.”