Posts Tagged ‘rodeo’

Rodeo Man

Posted on: June 29th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments
Colter practicing

Colter Practicing

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

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.

Colter catching 2 feet

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

Colter and Bucky Heeling


Honoring Red

Posted on: June 1st, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

R.W. Hampton & Red Steagall

Tonight at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock,TX, Lisa and I will join a great many others in congratulating our friend, Red Steagall as he is honored with the Boss of the Plains award. As we celebrate his life, achievements and contributions to the RHC and the ranching industry as a whole it is apparent that Red has meant so much to so many. To say that Red has been important in my life and career would be an understatement along the lines of “Texas is big”.  So for this Texas cowpuncher turned western singer and entertainer I think it’s best to say it like this:

Dear Red,
It has been a long trail, mi compadre and you’ve been there along with me every step of the way. Why, when I was just a kid I remember hearing you on my little transistor radio on those cold frosty mornings as I ran my Dallas morning news paper route.  Later you kept me & my running mates company as we listened to you on “8 track tapes” while we chased our high school rodeo dreams.  And who can forget those great rodeo dances & places like the Longhorn Ballroom, Panther Hall, the Fort Worth Stockyards & NFR in OKC.
Since then our trails have crossed, connected & run together many times.  I have been blessed to call you friend, employer, mentor, peer, co-writer, pard & in many ways a father-figure.  You’ve never been stingy about sharing the stage & spotlight or your vast knowledge of the music business.  Many of the things you have taught me have been by example.  Yes, things like the way you treat your fans, fellow performers, & audiences.  The way you have used your expansive career to help those around you.  These are just a few of the things I attempt to emulate. One of the most important things you have taught me is how a man stands up for his faith & his convictions. You have always done this with such impeccable class and non-apologetic authority.
Many people both here and abroad have asked, how I went from a cowpuncher to entertainer and how I’ve managed to get where I am now. I always smile & say, “Well, you can’t get there alone, you gotta have good friends”.  I finish by saying that I was told early to pick out the best and learn from them.  Red, that’s just what I’ve done because you are the best.  Many thanks Red for all you’ve done for me, for all you’ve done for the Ranching Heritage Center and everyone on our industry.
What would you say to your hero if you had the chance?