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 Willie Dynes
story by Lily Weinacht
Willie Dynes is the 2018 GCPRA Bull Riding Champion. The 23-year-old from Sonoita, Arizona, went into his second GCPRA finals leading the bull riding, but kept his competitive edge just as sharp. “When I show up, I have one job; I try to stay on and the rest will take care of itself,” says Willie, who is now the 2019 GCPRA Bull Riding Director. He knows his way around a rope as well and loves to ride anything bovine or equine that bucks, which also earned him the 2018 Turquoise Circuit Bull Riding Rookie of the Year title.
Willie started competing at 10 when one of his dad’s horseshoeing clients, the Davenports, introduced Willie to roping and steer riding. His career shot forward with qualifications to the YBR World Finals and NJHFR, as well as two qualifications to the NHSFR. He was rodeoing in California at the time, and won his district in 2012 in the bull riding. At 18, Willie was sponsored by Lucas Oil and given the opportunity to compete in the PBR. “I was fortunate to be picked up at a young age by a big sponsor, and it was really cool. I ended up getting hurt halfway through the year and wasn’t able to do what I wanted with the sponsorship. But right now I’m healthy and everything looks good,” says Willie, who’s been sidelined by a broken back and a broken femur in the past.
“My whole family has always stood behind me, and my friends as well. Lynn Davenport put me on my first steer, and I traveled with Keith Rockmore when I turned 18. He was at the end of his career and I was at the beginning of mine, and we became the best friends in the world. He taught me a lot about life and bull riding in general. He’s the one who taught me that riding is winning, and that’s been my mentality since going with Keith,” says Willie. “You meet so many good people in the rodeo world. A few months ago in the PBR I lost a good friend, Mason Lowe. He was a nitty gritty, tough guy with the mentality that riding is winning, and he tried his guts out every single time. Luckily, I got to spend an hour and a half with him about a month before he died.”
Willie traveled farther afield while competing in the PBR, but prefers to stay closer to home these days, competing in the GCPRA and the Turquoise Circuit, and working on ranches and running his own cattle as well. His affinity for cowhide and leather drew Willie to work at a saddle shop when he was 15, and the following year he started working for a leather shop in California running their sealing machine. “I ended up buying out a former saddle maker. I was 17 and I won a pile of money in Norco, California—$4,000 or $5,000—and I was able to buy the saddle shop,” says Willie. Dead Cow Customs was born, and Willie builds everything from gear bags to headstalls, reins, and belts. “Here lately I’ve been building bronc saddles, and I’ve built a few cowboy saddles. That’s where I aim to go with the shop, is that it will eventually just be a saddle shop.
“In the future, I’d just like to make a living off rodeoing. I’d like to go hard a year or two and try to make the Finals (NFR) but I don’t plan to rodeo hard my whole life. I want to keep building my cow herd and in the future I’d like to have a little ranch somewhere. I’d like to get good enough at riding broncs that I could make a living in a small circle riding broncs and bulls and team roping—anything pretty much to not have a real job,” Willie says with a laugh. “I’d like to have some nice horses, and a family someday, but right now I’m pretty content with where I’m at.”