Growing up in West Monroe, Louisiana, Cody Russell never gave much thought to becoming a team roper like his dad. A natural athlete, Cody started […]
Roper Review: Troy McDonald
Written by: Teri Edwards< Back to Articles
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 jackpot at five years old and won his first buckle at a roping school when he was seven.
Troy was successfully active in junior rodeo and high school rodeo. As a freshman, Troy won fourth at the high school nationals. In his sophomore year he was reserve state champion heeler, earning a trip to nationals in Springfield, IL, where he finished tenth in the nation. McDonald also qualified for nationals as a heeler in his senior year.
“My partner’s dad took us to Texas and Oklahoma for some big ropings during Christmas break that year,” says Troy. “At the Booger Barter roping in Glen Rose, TX, I tied for high point and ended up in a rope off for the truck. Thankfully I prevailed and got to drive a new 2003 Chevy Duramax home.”
After high school Troy wanted to be the first in his family to earn a college degree. McDonald sent a package of videos and his resume to seven or eight schools before deciding on Clarendon College in the Texas panhandle.
“Both of my Ag teachers knew Jerry Hawkins, who was on the Board of Regents at Clarendon. They had just built a new indoor facility for their rodeo team. Clarendon offered the most lucrative scholarship, so that’s where I went.”
Troy’s first rodeo coach was steer wrestler Matt Reeves, now a 6-time NFR qualifier. He credits his sophomore coach, Chad Smith, for helping take his roping to another level.
“Chad was a #8 heeler and we broke in a lot of steers. There were many days we would rope 60 to 80 steers. That year, in 2006, I won a truck at the OTRA (Original Team Roping Association) finals and got moved to a #9.”
After visiting home in Florida, Troy returned to west Texas and spent the summer with his friend, Jared Stoker. He soon realized he and his horses could withstand dry 100-degree weather much easier than the dense humidity of Florida.
“I couldn’t get over the difference in the humidity and how much more you could rope. That’s when I decided I was going to stay in west Texas.”
It was during his second year at Clarendon that Troy met his wife, Kelly. In July 2006 McDonald moved to Canyon, TX, after transferring to West Texas A&M. He also qualified for the college national finals that year. In 2008 Troy graduated from WTAM with a degree in Agri Business.
Troy and Kelly have both worked at Coolhorse in Amarillo, Texas for six years where Kelly oversees online shipping and Troy is the store manager. The couple has one son, Slade, who is two and a half.
“We still live in Canyon and I really enjoy living in a small town like I grew up in. When we’re not working I sometimes rope at World Series events. We also have a contract for the goat tying in the high school and junior rodeos in Region 1 and the Junior Cowboy Rodeo Association,” explains McDonald. “Slade is able to compete there in the 3 & Under. The little ones do everything on foot and he just won his first buckle.
“I love kids, and Kelly and I are enjoying Slade and being parents.”
How much do you practice?
Now days if I get to practice twice a week that’s a lot.
Do you make your own horses?
I used to when I was in high school and college. I’ve bought the last few.
Who were your roping heroes?
Speed Williams, my parents and my step-dad Jody Ruth.
Who do you respect most in the world?
My wife. She puts up with me and sees to it Slade and I have what we want and need.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Through high school, my mom put her barrel racing second so I could jackpot. I’ll never forget when I graduated she said, “Now it’s my turn to go again.” I would not have wanted to match her when I was growing up.
If you had a day off what would you like to do?
I would like to go to Florida and get on a bass boat and fish all day.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Competitive, good hearted, love kids.
What makes you happy?
What makes you angry?
Missing the horns.
If you were given 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?
I would love to build an indoor arena and buy my wife a boat.
What is your best quality – your worst?
My best quality is being kind hearted and that I love teaching kids. My worst quality is, as a header, I push the envelope too much instead of focusing on catching.