Troy McDonald grew up in the small town of Pierson, Florida, into a rodeo family that competed at and produced ropings. He entered his first […]
Roper Review: Lane Ivy
Written by: Michele Toberer< Back to Articles
Picking up a rope at 4 years old, a seed was planted in Lane Ivy’s heart that grew into a dream. Lane tagged along as his parents, Billy and Joanie Ivy, roped steers; watching, learning, and waiting for his turn. At 5, living on their Canyon, Texas ranch with younger brother Brent, Lane’s parents let him ride an old rope horse to track and rope slow steers as his skills progressed. As he grew, the dream in his heart did also; and like many young cowboys, he imagined himself running those steers under the big lights at the Thomas & Mack. For 26-year-old Lane, that dream has become a reality. “Growing up, roping was a huge part of our lives. I started going to junior rodeos when I was 9 and had some success. The thing about success is it makes you crave it even more, so I continued roping and one thing just led to another.” When Brent was old enough, the Ivy dream team of Lane heading for Brent became a regular entry. “I’m 18-months-older than Brent, so he’s always been a pretty good partner in crime. Although we’ve competed in other events, we were team ropers at heart. We’re blessed because our parents hauled us all over the country, so we could compete.” Lane’s parents did all they could to offer the resources the boys needed to progress in their sport. Lane’s grateful for family friend, Larry Hendrix, who spent many hours opening chutes and supervising the brothers when they were too young to rope on their own while their parents had to work.
Lane competed in the Texas High School Rodeo Association as a freshman, heading for Landon Williams, who’s still one of his best friends today; and for Michael Trujillo his sophomore year. The Ivy brothers partnered to finish Lane’s junior and senior years. “I was fortunate to have an incredible streak-faced sorrel gelding with a 96 on his left hip, named Bandit during high school. Bandit was a true blessing who taught me a lot and made me rope aggressive. My family raised him, and he died last August at 24-years-old. I’d let kids ride him all the time, and one year I got in trouble because I picked up broncs and drug bulls out of the arena on him before team roping; my dad said he was too good of a horse to do all that!” At 15, Lane headed on Bandit at the George Strait roping for Jayten McCright, “It was exciting to hear the announcer mention I was the youngest header to ever make the Top 50 at the George Strait.” Lane also competed in tie-down roping on a sorrel gelding, named Whiskey. “He was absolutely amazing. We sold Whiskey to Trevor Brazile after high school, and Trevor took him to the WNFR. I don’t know that Trevor would name him as one of his top horses, but he was definitely one of the nicest I’ve ever owned.”
When Lane was 15, he started riding horses for Jason Thomas, “I learned tons of lessons from him; every day he was trying to get better and trying to better his horses. It gave me such a great work ethic.” Lane attended Happy High School as a freshman and sophomore but switched to homeschooling his junior year as his dream of being one of the world’s best ropers became a passion and everything Lane did focused on it. “My whole family is completely competitive, we don’t want to just be okay, we want to be the best at something or not do it at all. I loved roping, making good horses, and was having some success; I thought when I turned 18, I’d rodeo for a year and make the WNFR; I didn’t think it would be hard at all.”
After graduating, Lane attended Weatherford College and competed on the rodeo team. “My mom thought it would be good for me to live on my own and asked me to try college for a year.” Just after leaving college, Lane received a call from Jett Hillman, asking him to head for him at some pro rodeos, “I thought ‘here it is, someone is finally calling me,’ this was my whole goal.” The team started having some success, but their season was cut short as Jett had to return home to have neck surgery.
In 2014, Lane roped with Lane Siggins, “We won maybe one check all summer. I was broke, and went back home. It was a hard pill to swallow; I was realizing that I didn’t give enough credit to the guys that made it the national finals. I was seeing that it was one of the hardest things I would ever do.” Lane moved in with Tyler Magnus in 2015 and learned lessons that year that equipped him with more than just the roping skills needed to be successful. “Tyler was such a great influence and teacher, he helped me get better horses, rope better, and I realized how much it was going to take to make the finals.” Lane went to California, and with some success heading for Bucky Campbell, finished in the top 40. “I was pretty excited. I bought my PRCA card, but my season wasn’t really going anywhere, and I went back home again.” In the spring of 2016, Lane moved in with the Coopers, where Jim Ross Cooper, and his brother Jake took him in like family. Lane felt his roping improved and credits the Coopers with helping him in many ways. Lane finished the 2016 season in the top 30. Lane had quite a bit of success roping with Buddy Hawkins in 2017. The dream of qualifying for the WNFR seemed almost in reach, but disappointingly, Buddy finished up in 16th place, with Lane finishing just 5 holes out of qualifying for the national finals.
At 25-years-old, Lane was at a crossroads; feeling that he needed to break into the top 15 or get a job. More determined than ever, he did everything possible to have a chance at the finals. “I roped every day, tried to strengthen my weaknesses, invested in the best horse I could get, and was completely focused on making 2018 the year that I made it.” Buddy and Lane started out earning over $22k in the winter, and although the spring didn’t pan out the same, Lane was counting on the summer rodeos to propel them further in the standings. Lane’s horse Cuervo, a 15-year-old bay gelding he bought from Chad Masters, was working great for him. “Buddy stayed home during the 4th of July run, so there was about a month that I had to rope with other partners. It was difficult, but in the same instance I couldn’t let myself get caught up in that. I just focused on my job and trusted that my partners were going to do theirs.” Lane’s mom often reminded him of the verse Matthew 17:20, encouraging him that with the faith of a mustard seed, all his dreams were possible. Lane had success roping with Blaine Vick and Joe Mattern, and by the time Buddy was roping again, Lane had earned over $45k. Finishing the season together, Lane and Buddy won over $20k more, which qualified them both for the 2018 Wrangler National Finals. “I’m really grateful to be roping with Buddy, I don’t always do a great job of handling the steers for him, but he does an outstanding job of catching what I give him.” A dream come true as the result of the devotion he’s given to the sport, Lane will be competing in the WNFR as the number 14 header in the world, with season earnings of $67,457.62, and Buddy competing as the number 13 heeler with season earnings of $64,451.02.
“I’m living my dream, the last of the season everyone asked if I was nervous about making the finals, but I was just enjoying the fact that I was close enough to have a real chance. It was fun being in the position that if I kept roping good, I could make the finals.” Shortly after the reality of what Lane had just accomplished set in, Walt Woodard asked him how it felt, “He asked me if it felt like everything I imagined all these years. I told him it felt like the biggest weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and someone put an even bigger weight on. I’ve made it to the NFR, but after that last round, it starts over, and I have to work even harder to get back there.”
Lane is preparing with fellow WNFR competitors, Wesley Thorp and Cody Snow, in their replica WNFR arena. They practice on steers like those they’ll be competing on; filming and timing their runs so they can analyze them. “We’re doing as much as possible to be the best we can when we roll into Vegas. We don’t want anyone to be able to say they prepared more than us.” Cuervo will be coming along to Las Vegas, but Lane plans to rope on Tate Kirchenslager’s 18-year-old gelding, Papa. “Papa has been there, done that, and is solid as a rock. He’s bigger than Cuervo so it’ll be easier for him to pull steers up the wall.”
Lane will be savoring every moment of this experience he has worked his whole life for, “I don’t know exactly how I’m going to feel once the competition starts, but the fact that I have the chance to rope a steer for $27k a night, 10 nights in a row is really exciting to me!”
Lane appreciates his sponsors, Wrangler, Classic Ropes, Timber Creek Veterinary Clinic, Resistol and the Mirage Casino. He’s also grateful for his family, and all people that have supported him behind the scenes.