A 13-year-old Bayfield team roper is moving into the big time.
On Jan. 6, Bodie Hine was one of 80 youth from 450 applicants named to the Young Pro Smarty Team, a group of ropers sponsored by Smart Roping of Mount Vernon, Texas.
In October, Hine and his roping partner, Quincy Sullivan, took second place and won $42,000 in the Section 8 finals of the U.S. Team Roping Championships in Oklahoma City, which hosts 500 teams from around the country.
"It's a really big deal in roping to win the finals in Oklahoma," said Jennifer Hine, Bodie's mother. Hine has been roping for six years, in large part because other members of his family rope, including his father, Richie, and there are more roping events in this area than rodeos.
"I'm not big, so I can't bulldog," Hine said of steer wrestling, which involves jumping from a horse onto a steer and wrestling it to the ground. "I don't like riding bulls because it hurts."
Team roping is the only rodeo event that features two contestants, made up of a header and a heeler. The header ropes the horns of a steer, then "dallies," or wraps the rope around the saddle horn and turns the steer to the left for the other cowboy, who ropes the heels. Team roping is the only rodeo event where men and women compete together, in both single-gender or mixed-gender teams. Hine is the heeler on his team. His partner is from Peralta, N.M. and like Bodie, she also is 13. Eventually, Hine would like to become a pro roper with his big brother, Chance. They're both sponsored by Don and Kellie Gosney of Gosney Ranches.
Taking second in the national competition and beating other teams of teenagers and adults was exciting, he added. He used his half of the winnings to buy a horse. "We were winning all the way down to the end," he added. "My horse was all fresh, and we had a steer set up, and I ran by and I came back and got the steer, and I heeled him and pulled back. It was exciting."
As part of the Young Pro Smarty team, Hine will attend clinics in Texas and represent the company at various competitions. Hine's interests aren't just in roping. The eight grader took third place this year with his science fair project at Ignacio Middle School.