story by Teri Edwards Katie Leibold was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she lived for the first 22 of her 26 years. She […]
Lari Dee Guy
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Lari Dee Guy strives to be a role model in competing, training, and clinics. “I want to be an inspiration that helps that little girl start roping or that lady that’s 50 that thinks they want to do that. I had all kinds of opportunities – I was left handed. Everything I was taught, my dad made them teach me left handed.”
Her multiple talents in the roping world include her latest $18,000 win at the Wildfire in February. “I won it heading and heeling,” said the 42-year-old from Abilene, Texas. “I don’t think anyone has ever done that before.” In the equine training arena she has an extensive list of references that includes Trevor Brazile. “We own three colts together – we train them together. I’ll train them and get them going and he takes them from there – he’s like my little brother.”
As a clinician, Lari Dee has shared her knowledge of horsemanship and ropers to several world champions. Passing on her knowledge of horsemanship and roping to others began 25 years ago while she was still in college. Her abilities with a rope started when she was a little girl.
“My dad (Larry) is the reason I’m a perfectionist and kind of became a machine as a roper. With him it was his way or no way. He taught me the right way. There was no in-between. He didn’t settle. I was to catch everything that I ran no matter what. I both respected and feared him.” Her first challenge with roping came from being left handed. Her dad knew how difficult it would be to rope left handed and refused to allow her to rope left handed.
Even though her mom (Mary) was a barrel racer, Lari Dee had a passion for roping because of her brother (Tommy). “He was a roper and I thought anything he could do I could do better. He went to the NFR in 93 in the calf roping.” She’s run barrels all her life, but once she got into high school, “I chose the rope.”
She was also a bit of a daredevil. Raised on a 10,000 acre ranch outside of Abilene, she managed to total five vehicles before she was 16 – the first one when she was five. “My brother and I would play hide and seek and even though there was a ten foot drop between the hay loft and the floor, I would bail out the door hit and roll. I wasn’t scared of anything when I was a kid. My brother wasn’t the daredevil, I was.”
She perfected her roping skills on the ranch during the many cattle drives. More than once her catches resulted in the necessity of the cowboys to get her rope back. She entered her first rodeo at 8, after her dad was sure she could rope well enough. She won that first breakaway roping. Her success continued into college where she won the breakaway roping three times in the Southwest Region and the national title in 1991 and again in 1993. She went to college at Vernon Regional Junior College and graduated from Texas Tech University. Lari Dee double majored in exercise sport science and recreational therapy. “I was going to be a trainer or own a gym. Obviously I pursued roping instead. I took motor learning and kinesiology and those classes really helped me understand a lot of things in our sport.”
She came home and worked on the ranch and roped. “I was fortunate enough to have the ranch and my family that supported me and gave the freedom to do that.” Her roping has earned her titles in several associations. She divides her time between competing, training horses, and putting on clinics. “I want to be instrumental in making our female athletes better. I’m also putting on some big ropings, one I had last year paid $6,100 to win the average.”
She started putting on schools when she was still in college. “I love having schools – I feel you learn from everyone you have. If you would say what would I break it down to now – the thing that people have trouble is- It’s all horsemanship. I watch people rope the dummy and every one can catch and I put them on the horse and they can’t. What makes me so successful roping is that I ride my horse good every time and I give myself a high percentage chance of catching.” She does about ten schools a year and travels all over the world doing them. “I’ve been to Sweden, Australia, Hawaii, and all over the US – you name it.”
Lari Dee has also had to overcome two back surgeries. “I struggle with back pain everyday and one of the things that helps is going to the gym – I go at least five days a week. I run and do core exercises.” She had her first surgery in 1993 and the second one in 2000. She is hoping medical research will improve enough over the next several years to help her with the scar tissue and bone spurs. “Until then, it’s mind over matter – I’m pretty tough.”
Lari Dee is the first to admit she is living the life she loves. “I don’t feel you can ever quit learning or be your best. I strive to be better every single day. I feel I rope, teach, and ride better every day. When I feel I can’t, that’s when I’ll do something else. I’m real competitive and I like to be good. If someone’s doing something better than me, I will work harder.I’m real disciplined. If I’m going to do something, I will get it done.”