CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - A few weeks after winning the Team Roping event at state, Tate Thompson and Braxton Hughes are gearing up for nationals in South Dakota.
“We’re going to try to do the same thing we did in the practice pen and at state,” Hughes said when talking about his expectations for nationals.
The pair won at the state rodeo by an impressive 11 seconds over their competitors.
“He’s the header, I’m the heeler,” gestured Thompson. “Down there, we went and roped three steers clean, and really good steers and it happened to work out.”
Preparing for state is similar for the well-seasoned competitors, who also prioritize having fun.
“When we’re practicing, if my handle’s bad he’ll tell me, ‘Hey, you need to change it.’ We’re real open minded about talking to each other and stuff,” explains Hughes.
“Most of the time it’s a bad handle,” laughed Thompson.
Despite all of the success, the boys do have their struggles, but they also have a lot of support. Their dads help them train for hours every day, and see right through their lighthearted attitudes.
“Those boys act like they’re not very serious about the whole deal, but they really are. They practice really hard and put a lot of effort into it,” said Billy Thompson, Tate’s dad.
The two have proven that their fun friendship translates to results in competition.
“They’re friends first, and they see what the other one needs, try to help the other one do their part, which makes them better for their part,” explained Braxton’s dad, Joe Hughes.
It all works because they truly do care. The boys are living proof that if you love what you do, it’ll love you.
“Say you miss one and you’re kind of pouting, you’re not going to have a good day,” expressed Thompson. “If you miss one, you’ve gotta be mad for a few seconds and then just get over it and have fun and you’ll be alright”.
“Even at the rodeos before our runs we always joke around,” Hughes chimed in. “I think if you be too serious, you think about it too much, then you won’t make as good of a run.”