Roping siblings are competitors and teammates

By Mike Linn

CLOVIS — During the week, two teenage brothers just a year apart participate in friendly roping competitions at their Clovis home. The loser does the other’s chores, the winner gloats.
On the weekends the sibling rivalry turns to teamwork for Dustin, 16, and Ethan McDaniel, 15, Texico High students with an affinity for riding horses and lassoing calves.
Partners in some team roping events at this year’s High Plains Junior Rodeo Finals, the brothers enjoy watching each other succeed.
“He’s been coaching on me quite a bit. It’s annoying sometimes, but it helps me out,” said Ethan, who will be a sophomore this year.
Typically, the brothers don’t compete against each other; Dustin is competing in breakaway, calf and team roping, while his brother is competing in team roping.
During the team competition, Dustin is the heeler and Ethan is the header.
“We’re always doing stuff together, always wanting to rope together,” Dustin said.
In the rare event that the brothers do compete, their family is pretty steady on which brother they root for.
“I root for both of them at the same time, and when they come up against each other I say ‘let God’s will be done,’” said Lydia Blevins, the teens’ grandmother.
Karen McDaniel, the boys’ mother, said Dustin and Ethan compete in rodeos almost every weekend, and while it’s good family time it can also be stressful.
“There’s a lot of practicing, there’s a lot of time involved and it’s not always real fun all the time. Yes, they fight sometimes, that gets a little stressful. But the majority of the time it’s fun. I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Karen, chairwoman of the Clovis chapter of the High Plains Junior Rodeo.
The brothers began roping when they were 5.
Dustin said he’d like to compete in the National Rodeo Association someday.
“He’ll probably make it,” Ethan said.
As for Ethan, he likes roping but isn’t sure if he’ll make the major leagues of rodeo.
“I hope I make it,” Ethan said.
But one thing both brothers know for sure, is who’s the best roper: “I am,” they said in unison.