Meet the Members: The Gaines family

by Rodeo News

story by Lily Weinacht

The family that rodeos finds kin in the chutes, alleyways, and arenas of the lifestyle. Pamela Gaines and her sons, Brandon, Jeffery, and Terry, from Ardmore, Okla., experienced the support of their rodeo family firsthand when their husband and father, Willy Gaines, passed away unexpectedly in August of 2015. Just weeks after he watched Jeffery and Terry rope in their first NLBFR, Willy, 72, went to the emergency room with a severe headache and learned he had a mass in his brain. He passed away within 48 hours. “It’s been pretty tough this last year,” says 23-year-old Brandon, the oldest of the brothers. “But we are so thankful for the rodeo family we have. There have been times where Jeffery and Terry might have felt like giving up roping, or I wanted to hang up my bullfighting, but our rodeo family has made us feel better going up and down the road.”
The brothers have been in the practice pen since they were kids, learning to rope from their dad, who was a team roper. Brandon was the first to start roping and has since chosen a bullfighter’s cleats over his rope. His 19-year-old twin brothers, Jeffery and Terry, continue to team rope together, competing in their second and final year with the NLBRA. “As much as we got tired of all that coaching Dad did in the practice pen, we all miss it now,” says Brandon, who fought bulls during the 2015 Oklahoma-North Texas Little Britches Finals. “He was always teasing me about never losing my hat, and I took a pretty good hooking a few weeks ago and still didn’t lose my hat. It’s little things like that we look back on and know he’s with us.”
The combination of Jeffery and Terry’s brotherly bond and years team roping together make them a talented team. Jeffery heels off his mare, Classiee, and Terry heads off his gelding, Drifter. “We both know how we like our steers – I know how Jeffery likes his pulled, so I don’t have to ask like I might with somebody else,” says Terry. “As soon as we back into the box, we already have our game plan.” The brothers won the year-end team roping and ribbon roping in the Oklahoma-North Texas Little Britches last year, just 44 points out of the all-around competing in two events. They decided to ribbon rope separately this season since Terry, the runner, wanted to rope, and the other ribbon runners couldn’t keep up with his long legs. “Our first year at the National Finals was a whole different ball game than we were used to, but this time we’re feeling better prepared,” says Jeffery. “I’m sad we’re aging out after this year. Especially after last year, we love our rodeo family, and we’ll miss a lot of those guys. Our church family also comes and supports us when we rodeo.”
While Jeffery and Terry are roping, Brandon is fighting bulls. He alternates his weekends between travelling with his mom and brothers to their rodeos and fighting bulls for the UPRA and stock contractors like D&H Cattle. Friends with retired bullfighter Ralph Johnson, Brandon began his bullfighting career about four years ago, helping load bulls and open chutes at HD Page’s practice pen every Tuesday night. “One night, we had a bull turn back at the last minute, and I stumbled and stepped up to him – no cleats, just street clothes,” Brandon recalls. “The guys told me to throw on a vest and take on a few. I’d spent enough time watching my buddies fight bulls that I learned to read bulls and when to move or not move. I know Cody Webster and Chuck Swisher, and they tell me that to become a better bullfighter, I have to work to do what I love. I’ve been following Bullfighters Only from the beginning and I’m looking into some freestyle bullfighting close to home.”
While her sons follow their careers in the arena, Pamela’s photography business, Digital Photo by Pamela, has flourished in the last several years, particularly in the rodeo world. What had been a hobby for more than ten years turned into a business when the tack store Pamela managed closed four years ago and she was encouraged to take her photography to a new level. She’s the photographer for three rodeo associations, including the Oklahoma-North Texas Little Britches, as well as a UPRA rodeo stock contractor. “All I can say is that God has blessed us since my husband passed away, and He did even before that, but He’s definitely taking care of us now,” she says. “I enjoy doing it, not just watching my own kids but also seeing the other kids improve, and capturing their moments.”
Since Jeffery and Terry graduated from high school last year, Jeffery is a student at Southwest Technology Center in diesel mechanics, while Terry just finished a welding program. Brandon is also a welder, and currently builds manhole covers in an iron work foundry. Their dad was a welder, and even had his own business. In addition to building their careers in welding and diesel mechanics, Jeffery and Terry plan to rope in the USTRC, UPRA , and PRCA together. “I want to bump my roping number as high as it can go,” says Terry. “And we want to see how far we can get together,” Jeffery adds.
“We have a couple of sponsors who help us out – our veterinarian, Dr. Radd, Mannsville Ag Center, the Dodge dealership in Ardmore (Okla.), and our biggest sponsor is our mom,” says Brandon. “We have her photography business printed on the back off all our rodeo shirts, and she hauls us up and down the road. And whenever we go up and down the road rodeoing, we make sure that we put the Lord above everything else, no matter the outcome.”


Brandon Gaines


Jeffery and Terry Gaines

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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