Meet the Member Robert Murphy

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay Humphrey

“I’ll go to whatever is left of the amateur rodeos for the rest of this season, and in October, when the next pro rodeo season starts, I’m going to buy my card,” said Robert Murphy of the somewhat frayed rodeo season 2020 has become. He’s essentially just waiting on October to kick it into high gear again, that’s when he’ll head to California to hit some pro rodeos. Robert calls Congress, Arizona, home for a majority of the year, but also spends a lot of his time on the road chasing jackpots and rodeos. He’s found New Mexico and the NMRA to be great destinations for roping when the winter jackpots in Arizona slowdown in the spring.
“New Mexico is the closest state really for amateur rodeos. Arizona doesn’t have as many of those as New Mexico. It doesn’t take me long to get over there, so they’re easy to get to and they have enough stuff that it’s worth driving over there. They will have several rodeos in a weekend and then a bunch of jackpots.” As a rope horse trainer, jackpots coupled with rodeos allow Robert to season multiple horses while also competing simply because he enjoys roping. This born-to-heel cowboy legitimately lives and breathes roping. The only time you won’t find Robert with rope in hand on the back of a horse is on the rare occasion that it rains in Arizona. Robert said he only misses about seven days in the arena because of rain throughout the entire year.
Of course, Robert wasn’t always a die-hard rodeo competitor. “My family’s rodeoed forever, but I wasn’t into it at first. My mom has always roped and ran barrels and so has my dad and grandparents.” Robert was 13 years old when he found himself down at the roping pen helping his parents and decided he might as well give it a try if he was going to be there anyways. “It was summertime and I wasn’t doing a whole lot. My parents roped every evening. I finally just started roping on my mom’s barrel horse one day.” Robert took up roping and riding full time after that and quit playing sports, which was his main focus before rodeo took over.
He first learned how to heel and that’s where Robert kept his focus as he competed in jackpots and local rodeos all through junior high and high school. “I’ve been a heeler since I started; it was the first thing I learned and stayed with it. I thought it was hard enough to heel that I never really tried taking up anything else.” Robert did eventually learn how to head out of necessity for his business. The horses Robert typically trains are broke and may have already been roped off quite a bit. Robert takes them one step further so they can be competitive at both jackpots and rodeos. “I usually have 5 or 6 horses with me; one of those is my good one and maybe a horse that I think will be my next good one, and the rest are just the ones I’m training on.”
When Robert leaves Arizona for the summer, during a normal year, he’s gone for about four months. He ends up taking all the horses he has on the place so he can keep working with them. “Usually in April I head to California and then to Colorado and New Mexico before coming back here around September. I went to the BFI over the fourth. It’s the most that’s really happened since the start of summer.” Rodeo and roping might be Robert’s bread and butter, but he truly enjoys the process of bringing a rope horse up the ranks. “I like progressing with the horses and seeing them get better and then figuring out my own stuff too. I like to see progress so that’s why I keep doing it.”

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

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