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 TJ Brown
story by Michele Toberer
“When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and for fifth generation cattleman and ranch, TJ Brown, loving life is exactly what he is doing. Born and raised in Payson, Arizona, on cattle ranches that have been in his family for generations, TJ not only enjoys working cattle on land owned by the Brown family for many years, but has found his own niche in the rodeo world as he competes as a team roper and has operated a rope horse training business for the past 15 years. “Most of my family has been long time ranchers, and although my dad rode bareback horses a little bit, I’ve been the main one that has ventured out into rodeo.” TJ’s parents, Joe and Shelly Brown have been hauling him to rodeos since he was just 5 years old, supporting the passion he had for the sport throughout his upbringing. Besides the J-4 Ranch, Joe also owns a construction business, which brought TJ back home after college in 2003.
During his Payson High School years, TJ competed as a heeler in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association before graduating in 2000. He continued his rodeo career at the collegiate level for Central Arizona College, and qualified for the college national finals three years, in 2001, 2002, and 2003. He was the NIRA Grand Canyon Region champion heeler all three years and ended up 8th in the nation once at nationals. After coming home in 2003 to work for his dad’s construction business, he started working for a local ranch training rope horses, and after two-and-a-half-years decided to venture off on his own. “I started training horses, riding them for others and training them to sell. I love what I do and think about it 24-7. I really appreciate my sister, Chancy, helping me train horses by spinning me steers every day.”
TJ has been competing in the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association since he was 10 years old, and before it was the GCPRA. During his many years competing in the association he has qualified for the finals 15 times, and won 6 GCPRA Champion Heeler saddles, most recently in 2017. His special heel horse, Little Boy, has won the GCPRA Heel Horse of the Year title in 2017 and 2018, as well as the PRCA Turquoise Circuit Heel Horse of the Year title in 2016 and 2019. These are honors that he is especially proud of since he trained the 13-year-old sorrel gelding, when he was just 2 years old. “A close family friend, Arnold Burrel, gave Little Boy to me to train and we were going to sell him and split the profit. He ended up being an outstanding horse, and Arnold gave him to me completely and I’ve been competing on him since he was 4 years old.” TJ also won the 2007 PRCA Turquoise Circuit Heeling title on Little Boy and has qualified for the circuit finals 14 years straight.
TJ’s is roping with Michael Camelot, who has been his main header the past two seasons, and they compete in GCPRA and PRCA rodeos. Between rodeo, ranch work, and training horses, TJ stays very busy, and is starting to set time aside to focus on building a life as a newlywed. TJ was recently married to Shancee Brown, a branch manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions, and the couple is building a house on the J-4 Ranch where they plan to live and raise another generation of Browns. TJ and Shancee met at a rodeo, where she was the assistant rodeo coach for New Mexico State University. Shancee barrel races, breakaway ropes, and team ropes; and the couple enjoys spending time together roping and riding.
TJ credits his dad, and a GCPRA calf roper, Homer Sanders, for playing a big part in his roping career. “My dad got me started and Homer played a big part in hauling me and helping me get started roping.” “I have a love for riding and roping, it’s all I really wanted to do. I ride horses and rope 5 days a week, and it’s still all I want to do on the weekends. I couldn’t be happier with my life.”