On the rodeo road, people are polite. It's one of the values that draws fans to the sport and keeps people involved in the lifestyle. Sure, no one out there is perfect and no one rodeoing is beyond reproach in every interaction they have. But by and large, there's a polite, respectful attitude among the cowboys both toward each other and outsiders. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that they see one another everywhere they go. Rodeo, in fact, is a pretty small group of performers traveling the country more-or-less on the same schedule. So a polite and respectful attitude can go a long way.
JoJo LeMond and Randon Adams decided during the 2008 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to join forces for the 2009 season, thus beginning their polite partnership. On paper, LeMond and Adams looks like a highly combustible partnership. Both men are known for their speed. Traditionally, successful teams are made up of one risk taker and one steady hand. With two gunslingers, the results are usually boom or bust.
For the first four months of the 2009 season, that's exactly what was happening for LeMond and Adams. Win a round and go out of the average.
"JoJo and I just took turns messing up," Adams, the reigning world champion heeler, said. "I slipped a leg here and there, roped my horse's front leg somewhere, roped a leg sometime. Denver, the second rodeo of the year, we placed in the first round. In the second round, he spun one off to be really fast-3 something-and I roped him and lost him. Little bit of bad luck and me not being as smart a roper as I could be."
For LeMond, the frustration created a more pressing need for immediate correction.
"It had gotten to the point where we rope good enough that this kind of stuff shouldn't have been happening," he said. "I asked Rambo [Randon's nickname], I said, 'I'm open to suggestions for anything to make our team better.' I kind of thought that it was important not to go to California and to come home to work stuff out and see if I needed to do something different or trade head horses."
So, instead of going on the California spring rodeo run through Red Bluff and Clovis, they went to Andrews, Texas, LeMond's hometown, to get to the bottom of the problem.
"We come home after Laughlin and Logandale to my house for a week and saddled every horse we could find up and went to breaking it down and talking about it," LeMond said.
So, they turned steer after steer, trying to get to the root of their struggles.
"We roped all day," Adams said. "We had five or six horses saddled apiece for a week straight. The guys that reach a lot like him, kind of round their corners. I like a steer to break over a little more."
Even though he realized that was the root of their struggles, he stayed true to the cowboy polite nature and didn't say anything.
"It kind of took some time for me to build up to tell him that. I never told him until the last day," he said. "Heck, it's my job to catch them anyway no matter what they do. But I finally told him, 'The position I ride, I felt like it would be a little better if you could break them over a little better-kind of swing their butt out there a little further and give me a for-sure corner.'"