Featured Athlete: Hope Thompson
Written by: Ruth Nicolaus< Back to Articles
Hope Thompson is one of the lucky women in rodeo who can make her living with horses. The Abilene, Texas cowgirl, a breakaway roper and team roper, trains horses and gives clinics on roping. She was born and raised in Atlanta, Texas and attended McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., where she won the College National Finals Rodeo in 2008 in the breakaway.
After college, she made her way to Abilene, where she works with Lari Dee Guy, training and teaching.
She won the breakaway and $7,000 at the WCRA’s semi-finals in Guthrie, and advances to the WCRA’s Royal City Roundup in Kansas City on Feb. 28.
For the breakaway, she rides an eleven-year-old cutting reject named Ink, who she trained. The mare, who is solid black, “is my partner,” Hope said. “I couldn’t do it without her.” Ink has won horse of the year titles in several different associations and jackpots and was the reserve world champion AQHA Horse of the Year in the tie-down roping. Ink is a sweetheart, she said. “She’s very laidback. She wants to give you 100 percent. She wants to please.”
For the heading, Hope rides a seven-year-old gelding named Andre. Hope’s heeler is usually Whitney DeSalvo.
Of her two events, she’s been a breakaway roper longer, and might love it a tad more than the team roping. “I’m most passionate about the breakaway,” she said. “I’ve always been a breakaway roper. But I love anything to do with a rope. I love being able to do all of it.”
She does it with 5 Star Equine products. Her favorite 5 Star item is the saddle pad. “It’s the best material and the best product I’ve found in our industry. The wool is 100 percent virgin and it conforms to your horse’s back, even when (the pad) is brand new. They don’t break down, either. They last forever. My horses love them, which is important to me, because without my horses I’m nothing.”
She uses the 5 Star saddle pad with the fleece liner built in, and appreciates it. “Those are new for me. I just started using those and I really like those, too.”
She also loves the sports boots. “They’re my favorite. They fit well and they’re not bulky.”
5 Star items can be customized, and Hope values that touch. She owns several different colors of boots and tries to match the embroidery on her horse’s saddle pad to the color of the boots.
Hope loves training horses. “I’m passionate about training horses. I love getting to start and train them, and when I sell them, I love to see them go and do big things for other people.”
She also finds great satisfaction teaching people how to rope, and then seeing them compete, sometimes at the same events she’s competing at. “That’s pretty cool when you get to teach somebody your craft and they go and do it, and then you meet up with them again in competition.”
Working with people inspires her. “It goes beyond teaching people to rope,” she said. Some of her students might have faced obstacles in life, and roping heals them. “Getting to come and do something like that helps them.”
She is excited about the future of rodeo and breakaway roping. “I feel that more women are going to get to make a living breakaway roping.” The WCRA and the American Rodeo are instrumental in changing rodeo, she believes. “If it’s something young women are passionate about doing, I feel their time is now. (The WCRA and the American) are giving us the opportunity to make the same money as the men.”
Hope is a member of the 5 Star Equine team.