Ryan Motes answers Spin To Win Rodeo’s Facebook fans’ questions about preparing for different set-ups, plans after his rodeo career, and his horses. If you’d like to have a pro answer your questions next month, visit facebook.com/spintowinrodeo and join in the discussion.
You have won a roping like the BFI, but also share the world record for the fastest time. How do you prepare for them both, considering they are very different circumstances?
As far as practicing, before the BFI I try to be 7 and 8 on steers, and make sure I keep a lot of distance between me and the steer. I’ll follow them around to the second or third jump. When I’m practicing for winter rodeos or the NFR I practice to be fast and try to be 4. I’ll ride higher and tighter in position, and work on being there on the first jump.
Is it the winning or the losing part of rodeo that drives you the most?
I think anybody that rodeos hates losing, so it’s probably the winning that drives me. The gratification you get when you win is something we all strive for. To be there and compete with your peers and come out on top is what drives us all to spend the countless hours practicing and going down the road. Nobody likes spending time away from home, but the motivation to win makes us all work at it.
What does it take to be in your shoes and be a better roper and make it to the finals?
I think a lot of people don’t realize the amount of practice and dedication you have to have to rodeo professionally. You have to work at it every day. When it’s 30 degrees or 100 degrees, we go out and practice. When you’re losing, somebody is winning, so you always have to have an excellent work ethic.
Who’s your favorite practice partner?
I practice with a bunch of people. Brock (Hanson) got to stay with me this winter and we got to rope a lot. Anthony Lucia and TJ Jones also turn steers for me. I’m lucky in the fact that I’ve got guys that live close to me so when Brock is gone I can get them to rope with me.
Who got you into roping and are you still learning as you go?
My dad made the finals 22 times so I’ve always grown up around it and it’s always been what I wanted to do. When you quit learning is when you quit getting better. I learn from people that come to schools as well as people I’ve idolized my whole live. Whether it’s the older style of team roping or the new, you can learn from anyone everywhere you go.
Talk about your horse, how do you keep him going and how many to you run on him in the practice pen?
My horse CD Starbucks is 14. He is by a CD Olena stud and out of a gray Starlite mare. He is the best horse I’ve ever roped on. He’s easy in any situation whether it’s going from a long score like Salinas, to a short score and right back to Cheyenne’s long score. Everybody that rides him gets along with him. Most of the time I can let him off for two months and he still works good. Before a big roping like the BFI I’ll run a few on him but other than that he mostly gets exercised and I don’t practice on him a whole lot.
What are your plans after your rodeo career?
I plan on rodeoing for a couple more years and then I d like to stay home and train some horses, do some schools and ride some AQHA show horses.
What do you rope more, a roping machine or live cattle?
As long as I’ve got somebody good I can practice with and have good cattle, I rope more live cattle. I think it works well for me to be able to rope live steers more. If I don’t have a good practice partner or access to good steers, a machine works well also. You can get the same run over and over on a machine, where cattle you get different looks at them each time. I usually have access to fresh cattle all the time and that works well for me.
What is the first thing you like to do when you get home from being on the road?
I like to spend time with my family. My wife goes with me so I get to be with her all the time, but when I get home I get to hang out with the rest of my family and not do a whole lot. I’ll just rope and exercise my younger horses.
How much angle should you have on your heel loop prior to delivery?
I think a lot of older styles have what I consider too much angle. You don’t want it plum flat, but you want it a little bit over the left hip. Not too far to the left but not flat either; kind of in the middle.
How many horses are you competing on?
I’ve got 5 with me right now. I have been competing on Starbucks and I also have a 9-year-old Bay mare that we raised that I’ve been riding at the rodeos quite a bit. I also have an older gray horse with me that I used to ride everywhere, and I have some younger horses with me too. I raise all of mine so I always take a couple young horses with me to expose them a little bit.