Meet the Members: Rocky and Darci Tibbs

by Rodeo News

story by Terry Rhodes

For the husband and wife team of Rocky and Darci Tibbs, Mid-States Rodeo Association is more than just a rodeo association. It’s where the couple met, fell in love, and started their life together. “I met Darci (Gracey) in 2005 at a Mid-States rodeo and we have been together ever since.” Darci says, “Rocky actually knew my dad because of calf roping before he knew me. Then we started dating and got married in 2008.”
Darci has been in the Mid-States Rodeo Association since 2002.
Nowadays Mid-States Rodeo is the only association that the couple belongs to. Rocky says, “It’s a good association to be in. The people are really great to be with and rodeo with. The entry line system really tries to work with you to get you up when you need to run. The Finals are always good and you can count on having good stock. I used to get to 40 or more rodeos a year but I’m not traveling as much anymore and with a wife and three kids, we’ll still get to about 10 or 20.”  Darci adds, “It’s a good family association. Usually the kids will go with us but if they don’t, they’ll stay at my parent’s place. And if Rocky can’t go, I’ll get my dad to go with me. I compete in the breakaway and dad calf ropes.”
When Rocky began as a member of the Mid-States Rodeo Association in 2000, he was competing in calf roping and saddle broncs. In fact, it was in the bronc riding that produced his most memorable time in the arena. “The year I won the Mid-States Rodeo Saddle Bronc Riding in 2001was the best time I’ve had. When you get off your last horse and you know you won the battle for the Year End Title. That was really special to me.” Darci says that for her it’s that knowing she made a good, clean run, and did exactly what she wanted to do that she replays in her memory banks. “It’s knowing that all the practice and work have paid off. That’s what is rewarding to me.” Both Rocky and Darci grew up in a rodeo families. Rocky talks about his rodeo start, “My dad, Tim Tibbs rode bulls and he got me started roping and then into junior rodeo. I just went on from there. One of my uncles helped me with calf roping and I went to one of Paul Tierney’s calf roping clinics.” He says that his father has been that special influence to him in and out of the arena. “If I ever get in a bind, I can go ask him and he’ll have an answer for me.”
Darci’s father, Rick Gracey helped her start rodeo at an early age. “Dad had me on a horse since I was little. We ranched and had cattle and horses so I’ve been around it all my life. I was in junior rodeo, high school rodeo, and after high school started going to Mid-States rodeos. I’m a pretty competitive person and love to win so I like to rodeo. I ride my dad’s good calf roping horse; he’s 19 and really knows the job and that’s a big advantage.”
For Rocky getting ready to make that good, fast run, is a mental exercise. “I think about what I have to do to set up my run and I try to stay positive. I think about other good runs I’ve had in the past and how they went. I like to go see what calf I’ve drawn and see what others have done with him on previous go’s.”  But when it’s “go” time, Rocky says that with every run it’s a matter giving 100% effort. “You have to lay it all on the line every time and you can’t be afraid to make a mistake.”
Having a horse that you can depend on is essential in calf roping and Rocky just lost his good horse last November and now he is in the process of making a new one.  “I’ve got a new one going and I’m trying to get him seasoned and I think he’s going to make one.  I’m starting over from scratch and but they all just take time.” Rocky says that he’s not as concerned with bloodlines as he is with their mind and willingness to work. “The hardest thing to make is a calf roping horse. They have to run as hard as they can, stop, and back up.”
Rocky and Darci live in Broken Bow, Neb. with their three children, Izabelle, 8, Bronc, 6, and Cheyann, 3. During week Rocky works as a tool and die maker at Becton Dickinson. Darci works as the zoning administrator for Custer County.

Rocky Tibbs - JJJ Photography

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