story by Laura Martin When Jim Persinger discovered the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association in 2012, feeling like he could still compete at the age […]
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Meet the Member Dave Eastlake
story by Lindsay King
Eighty-year-old Dave Eastlake saddles his “old-mans horse” every morning and gets his roping in before the Amarillo, Texas, heat starts to blister. “I try to rope every day. Not to be competitive; it is part of my exercise program.” Dave remembers when the NSPRA was called the National Old Timers Rodeo Association back when it began in 1979 in Hyannis, Nebraska. Raised in a small farming community outside of Phoenix, Arizona, Dave started in junior rodeos riding steers and some bareback horses in high school. “After graduating from Arizona State University with an agricultural degree, I went to work in a feed yard. We roped and doctored every animal in the pen instead of bringing them to a chute. I only had two days off a month so I roped every single day.” Dave started roping calves in the evenings, he would rope ten calves off his horse. “Then I would take a rope and tie calves to the fence and practice tying. That is how I practiced and got my calf roping deal going pretty good.” He joined the Arizona Rodeo Association and the RCA, still holding his pro card today. In 1965 Dave won the ARA calf roping championship, starting a life-long career of championship calf runs. “I could tell you about all the big rodeos that I won pretty well at, but that could go on and on. That’s how I got to where I am and then I started going to the old timers.” Always in the cattle industry, Dave eventually moved from Arizona to Texas as the industry migrated east.
“Basically, I am retired now. I have been involved in a lot of different ways with the NSPRA. I served as president for one term but the main thing I am involved with now is the Hall of Fame. We are trying to make it bigger and better.”
When the NPSRA finals moved to Las Vegas a few years ago, Dave suggested the Hall of Fame induction move with it. “It was up there in Montana all by itself, it was really good when we moved it to Vegas.”
Dave was 40 when he first discovered the NSPRA; he initially wanted nothing to do with it. “As time went on, I got a little more interested in the NSPRA.” When the finals were in Las Vegas that first year, competitors only had to compete in one rodeo to go, Dave got to go. “They started the association after that, in 1979. I was in from the beginning and I have known every president since those days to now.” Inducted into the NSPRA Hall of Fame in 2003 for his dedication to the organization, Dave is a NSPRA world champion calf roper and served as president, vice president, event director and now as chairman of the Hall of Fame committee.
Dave met his wife Linda initially over the phone while ordering calves from Texas but saw her for the first time during his annual trip to visit his sellers. “I walked in that office and there was the best-looking Texas woman I ever saw in my life.” Married in 1976, Dave and Linda have lived in Amarillo for the last 41 years. “Over the years we have had a lot of fun together traveling and entering senior rodeos.” The first rodeo Dave entered in was an annual roping in Wickenburg, Arizona, held the Sunday after Thanksgiving. “My neighbor in high school, Eli Straun, came up to me at that roping and said he was going to enter us in the ribbon roping.” Instead, Dave ended up being the runner for the late Everett Bowman in the ribbon roping. “That was the first buckle I ever won and the first rodeo I ever competed in. He [Everett} was one of the first people in the United Cowboys’ Turtle Association that eventually led to the RCA and PRCA.”