Written by: Courtesy< Back to Articles
by Holly Wilson
A humble cowboy from Sulphur, Oklahoma, Blake Hughes splits his time between the roping pen and the family dairy farm.
“My dad owns a dairy farm, and he ropes. He’s the reason I started roping, and then I got into it with my uncle. He doesn’t go to any rodeos, but he still likes to ride,” Blake said.
“My mom is a physical therapist. She didn’t grow up around horses but she’ll ride a little bit. The dairy keeps my dad pretty tied up.”
Blake helps his father around the dairy by feeding and checking calves, and taking care of their milking cows.
In his spare time, Blake enjoys fishing and, of course, roping.
After taking up horseback riding at a young age, Blake was swinging a rope by age 12. “I was probably roping every day by that point. I was into it pretty heavy and practicing every time I got a chance,” Blake said, “As long as the weather would permit and we weren’t too busy on the dairy, we would try to rope.”
He and his uncle live closeby, and rope together nearly every day.
“My uncle still ropes, and he goes quite a bit. He goes to a lot of the World Series ropings,” Blake said, “He still lives close, and we still rope together about every day. It’s convenient.”
This tight knit family dynamic has helped Blake to be successful in his roping career. “My dad’s got me good horses, that’s a big part of it. He bought [Streakin King Dandy] and he’s bought some other ones,” Blake said, “He’s always given me good horses to ride, I’m pretty thankful for that.”
Streakin King Dandy, a 2006 gelding, is Blake’s partner in crime.
Because of his innate ability to rate calves with precision and speed, Blake doesn’t fuss with his horse at home.
“To prepare for an upcoming rodeo, I work on scoring. When I go to practice, I want him to score good and leave flat,” Blake said, “He knows what to do in the arena, so I just try to keep him calm and quiet, and comfortable in the box.”
This type of training works well with Blake’s busy schedule, and allows him to be asset on the family farm. Blake gathers cattle on Streakin King Dandy, and uses him as a ranch horse at the house in-between ropings.
Being a humble man, Blake insists that his success is all due in part to his little rope horse.
“I don’t know if I’d be where I am without him, that’s for sure. I’ve had good horses in the past, but he’s the best one I’ve had,” Blake said, “I like to think that I’d be close to where I’m at, but he’s played a big part in my success.”
This past year, Streakin King Dandy and Blake placed and attended several notable rodeos including; the Bob Fiest Invitational, the George Strait, the ERA finals and RFD TV’s The American.
The duo placed second in The American qualifier, and placed third in the open. They also finished 14th overall on the ERA leaderboard with a fifth place finish in the first round of the three part championship.
Their most notable accomplishment, was a first place finish at the USTRC US Open Champions, where they spun five steers for 31.02 with partner Brady Norman.
The bay gelding still has a lot of life left in him though, and Blake has several goals for the next five years.
“He’s the only good horse I have right now that I feel like I can go win on,” Blake said, “A year from now, we’re gonna try to go a lot more and try to make the national finals.”
“If we could make the national finals two or three times over the next five years, I’d say we’d be doing pretty good,” Blake said.
He has high hopes for his bay horse, whom he affectionately calls “Snake”.
“He’s got a lot of personality. I named him Snake right when we got him,” Blake said, “He was hard to catch; and then after you did get him caught he was always watching and was always trying to get away from stuff.”
“Once you get him caught, he’s pretty good,” Blake said. “I don’t know what it is, but he’s kinda funny like that.”
Although Snake has outgrown some of his old habits, the nickname is here to stay.
“He hasn’t outgrown that one yet, it still fits,” Blake said with a laugh.