Getting back to my music……
Rodeo season is in full swing. Rodeo and ranching are a way of life that go hand in hand. Rodeo can be addictive though because no matter how much hard luck you had in the arena today, there’s always the promise of better luck tomorrow and the prize money that goes along with it. Rodeo and the optimism that seems to drive a man on to the next show is the spirit that embodies the American West.
It’s no secret that I grew up north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and attended high school at JJ Pearce in Richardson. I was fortunate that although we lived “in town”, my parents respected my love of the West, desire to have a horse and to be a cowboy. Although I am pretty sure they hoped I would grow out of my career plans they allowed me to keep a horse at a small local stable that boarded horses. In high school my friends and I decided we needed a rodeo team so we organized ourselves and formed a club.
Our actual rodeo skills were forgettable at best but we had a lot of fun and loved the life, the travel and the friendships that rodeo provided. A few of us have held to that lifestyle.
My dream was to be a real cowboy working on ranches across the West that beckoned me but my parents insisted I give college a try. It was short-lived as, although I loved learning, I had a serious disdain for classrooms. And then the world of ranching, roping, wild cattle, and fast horses beckoned me to the life I had always dreamed of.
Professional rodeo was never a part of my life but in my wilder, younger years I loved entering up in jackpots, local rodeos, team ropings & particularly pasture ropings where just about anything can happen. I’ve won a few buckles in my day but nothing like my sons, Cooper and Colter.
Coop & Colt at the Texas HS Rodeo Finals
For them rodeo and team-roping became a wonderful past-time they shared throughout high-school as they competed in both NHSRA and National Feed-lot Roping competitions around the country. Cooper went into the Marines, but Colter went on to compete for his collegiate team and in open ropings all over Texas and the West. Now he trains rope horses for others and works full time as a cowboy caring for over 6,000 yearlings. Of all of us, he has truly lived the rodeo life for a good number of years.
One of the many photos around our house of Colter roping
I’m proud to include the song Rodeo Man on my Austin to Boston album because it was written by my son, Colter, a true “Rodeo Man”, who has chased that dream and won his share of buckles, saddles and prize money; but he has also tasted the disappointment of defeat and had to go on to ride again. It is a bug that gets into your soul and is hard to get out. When I first heard Colter sing it I knew that it was a song I had to put on this album, because like me, I felt that many of those who hear it will identify with this Rodeo Man and the tough life he has chosen.
What a special way to have art, life, our heritage and our family all wrapped into one song on this album.
When I recorded the song I was honored to have Colter also add his talents in the background vocals, like a ghostly voice from the arena dust of a long forgotten bronc ride. This song will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the first song of my son’s that I’ve been privileged to record, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have, and I hope he’ll send me another real soon!
Colter and Bucky Heeling