Q&A: Roper discusses sport, visit to area

Texas Cowboy Hall of Famer and founder of the Professional Bull Riders (association) Cody Lambert stopped in Clovis on Friday to rope some calves.

Cody Lambert

Lambert, 51, rode bulls and broncs professionally for 17 years and said his calf roping at the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping rodeo was just for fun.

Lambert retired from bull riding in 1996 and continued riding broncs. He rode calves and steers as child. He said he roped calves a little as a young man but did not start calf roping at events such as the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping rodeo until about two years ago. He considers calf roping a hobby. He lives in Bowie, Texas.

According to Wayne Needham, the rodeo's producer, the Joe's Boot Shop Calf Roping rodeo is the one of the largest roping events in the world. Unlike most calf roping rodeos, this one is open to the public, Needham said. The rodeo also has age and skill groups for everybody, which attracts a lot of competitors.

Needham said last year's rodeo featured more than 1,000 competitors and close to 5,000 runs, with ropers from as far as Florida and California. The majority were from an area between Houston and Dallas, Needham said.

Here's what Lambert said about calf roping:

What is your definition of a good calf roper?

Calf roping is athletic like any other sport. A calf roper has to be competitive and dedicated. Calf roping has another dynamic because there are two animals involved. It's an endurance and a speed contest. Without endurance and grueling practice you're not going to be good at it. It's a competition that takes a lot of athletic ability and strategy. You have to know your horse and know your own limitations and know what you're good at. You have to know the calf you're going to be roping because you have to decide how much of a headstart you're going to give it and how you're going to set up your run. Calf roping evolved from working on the ranch.

What is your favorite part of a calf roping event?

I like the relationship I have with my horse. When my son started doing this (calf roping) I decided I was going to try to train a calf roping horse. The horse that I'm riding is what got me excited about it. I really like the horsemanship part of it.

Who is your favorite professional calf roper?

There have been a lot of them. I think my favorite calf roper right now is Cody Ohl. My favorite calf roper of all time is probably Joe Beaver.

What impresses you about the calf roping event in Clovis?

It's really cool that Clovis has a calf roping event like this. This competition has been going on in this part of New Mexico for more than 100 years. It's cool that Clovis embraces this competition because it's not like this everywhere. I've always read about the history of the ropings in Clovis and Joe's Boot Shop kind of keeps that tradition alive.

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