Meet the Author – Nandy Ekle

Meet the Author


Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. She is a multi-published author in the Psycho-thriller and horror genre.

Please welcome Nandy Ekle

When did you start writing?

I started writing in junior high. In the 8th grade I actually wrote a book (I’m talking about 80 pages) about a group of kids who found tunnels underneath the school. I really didn’t have a plot, but it was fun for them to explore the tunnels. This was in the middle 70’s. Of course, nothing happened with the story, which is lost somewhere in my childhood. But in the middle 80’s, The Goonies came out on the big screen, and it reminded me of my first writing adventure. After that I wrote a story called The Kiss That Never Was. I’m actually a little embarrassed about that story now because it was so awful, but it was something I wrote, and it had a definite plot, weak as it was. After that, I wrote part of a story about a woman and her boyfriend who were kidnapped, which was also hilariously ridiculous because my kidnapper did not even have a gun.

And I had no concept of “short answer” questions on tests. Once we were assigned to write a short essay about Christmas for English class. But mine was more of a short story about a little girl waking up and feeling the Christmas magic in the air. Needless to say, the teacher advised me to stick a little closer to the assignment instructions.

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

Well, I didn’t choose my genre, it chose me. I write the dark stories, the horrors, psychologicals, thrillers, mysteries. I’ve tried to stick to lighter stories, but there’s always a twist that heads back to the dark side. It’s as if I can’t control it.

And I think I understand where it comes from. I’ve been accused of being an adrenalin junkie, and I guess that’s true. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book, or watching a movie, and a completely unexpected life shattering twist leaves me feeling as if I’ve been punched in the gut. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling. And I suppose that’s why I try to include that type of twist in my writing.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve ever done to help my writing is join a writing group. I had been the person who, even though I’ve been a writer for most of my life, I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. I mean, I’m a grown woman, a grandmother, and I see other worlds and hear characters talking in my head all the time. So the first time I walked in the group and people came up to me and said, “So, what do you write,” I was completely floored. I had never felt that open about it before, and it was absolutely . . . liberating. Then I found the critique group. Not only was I accepted as a writer, I was encouraged, even expected to write more and more words, in more and more creative ways. And that has made all the difference.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m ashamed to say I really don’t have a set writing routine. As a “pantser,” I write when the whim strikes me. And that means that sometimes there are huge chunks of times between writing sessions. This creates guilt feelings, and that makes me try to force words on a page that have no business being there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Getting myself in “the zone” sometimes is harder than others. One thing is to have a character be real to me. I have to do that by getting deep in their heads. One way I do that is to write in first person.

Another thing that helps is listening to music, especially if what I’m writing was inspired by a specific song. I once wrote a story about a wife who suspects her husband is seeing another woman, so she goes to a fortune teller. An old 70’s song by Cher was my inspiration, and I had to listen to the song over and over while I was writing it. To this day, when I hear it, I hear the characters arguing with each other.

Movies and books also inspire me. Also pictures of old houses and true crime stories. Also, an interesting situation or character.

Are you an outliner?

As I mentioned before, I am a “pantser,” which means I write “by the seat of my pants.” I usually have an idea of where I want the story to go and the twist, which is very important to me, but when I do get into “the zone,” anything can happen, and it’s usually better than what I had originally planned. While the rest of my life is very organized, I suppose writing is where I’m actually able to let it go and let it happen. But it’s finding that zone . . .

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Well, definitely, keeping a writing routine is a challenge. I know the masters say, “the more you write, the more you want to write,” but if I force myself to write, it reads, at least to me, like it was forced. In my case, spontaneity is definitely the best.

What are you working on currently, future?

Currently, I have more than ten short stories going, at least I think they’re going to be short. I have several more started that will be longer than than a short story, but I really don’t plan to make them into a novel. I have two novels completely written in my head, but only about one fourth of the way on a page. And I have countless rewrites and completions to get done. And no number for the ones in my head that have not floated to the top of my story soup and screamed for attention. Besides these are the situations and characters, or even just a glimmer of a twist, and I know there’s a full-blown story there, but just have not been able to put my finger on exactly what it is.

What advice would give to new writers?

Writers write. That’s all I know. Writers write.

Oh, and let go and let it flow.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing advice I can tell writers today is don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly because you like to make up worlds and characters. And find a master to emulate.

Meet the Author – Adam Huddleston

Meet the Author


Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to introduce our newest member of the WordsmithSix Critique group. His writing style is impressive with the ability to draw the reader into the creative worlds he creates.

Please welcome Adam Huddleston

When did you start writing?

I started writing (in earnest) about six years ago.  On a whim, I bought the book “Writing Fiction for Dummies”.  I devoured it cover to cover.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I chose the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre because that’s what I grew up reading.  My favs were Stephen King and Michael Crichton.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve done for my writing career is joining our critique group.  Having honest feedback on my work helps out tremendously.

What’s your writing routine like?

The best time I find for writing is actually at work.  I often have a Word document pulled up on my computer desktop in the background and I work on it from time to time.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

I tend to write better when it is as quiet as possible and I can just vomit the words onto the paper (or screen).  Once I get about a paragraph done, I go back and fix things.

Are you an outliner?

I’m not really an outliner, but I feel that if I strengthened those skills, my writing would improve.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

My biggest writing challenge is trying to complete an entire plot without losing interest and jumping to another project.

What are you working on currently, future?

I am currently working on a middle-grade or YA fantasy story involving an orphan who discovers a “special” door in her bedroom.

What advice would you give to new writers?

My advice to new writers is what I suspect is usually given; write, write, write!  You won’t get a feeling for your literary voice until you really start churning out words.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing I could tell writers today is that they should never be discouraged by the enormity of the writing world, but rather encouraged by it.  With e-books, blogging, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and the like, there are plenty of options available.

Meet the Author – Melanie Miller

Meet the Author


Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we want to highlight a young writer who has been a recent guest at our critique group. She has a great talent and we are sure that you will be seeing her writing in the near future.

Please welcome Melanie Miller.


  1. When did you start writing?

I started writing in High School. My first attempt at writing a novel began when I was only a sophomore.

  1. Why did you choose the genre you write?

I write Young Adult Fiction because I love reading it, and I want to write something that my younger brother will enjoy.  Young Adult has some of the most fluid and dynamic characters–seeing how these characters grow and change makes me happy.

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

I went to the West Texas Writing Academy in 2015. Being there connected me with a bunch of writers and help me see that my writing aspirations were fully within my grasp.

  1. What’s your writing routine like?

Procrastination. I find that I am most inspired to do creative writing whenever I have something else that needs to be done. Like taxes. But normally, I will drag my self out of bed at six in the morning and write until I have to go to class.

  1. How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

I usually go somewhere where I put on my headphones and sit with no distractions or friends trying to talk to me. After ten to thirty minutes of gutting out the words, things start to flow.

  1. Are you an outliner?

I don’t think I can be impartial when answering this. Whatever answer I come up with would be muddied by by own egocentric bias. Still. I would like to think that me and my writing style are different, but then again, who wouldn’t?

  1. What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Finding the will power to actually write. Actually sitting down and writing is the hardest thing in the world. There are a hundred-thousand distractions, especially if you work on a computer.

  1. What are you working on currently, future?

I am currently writing the first draft of my first novel. I also have tentative plans for two more books using this same world and main character. I also have several other commenting worlds and storylines that I plan on exploring in the future.

  1. What advice would you give to new writers?

Forge connections with writing groups. Once you get yourself in a strong writing group, it gives you reason and motivation to writing, even if that motivation is only to not be embarrassed by bringing in shoddy work or no work at all.

  1. What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The publishing business is becoming more and more accessible. With ebooks and online publishing, it is increasingly likely that your book will be published in some form or manner.

A Great Experience

A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols


A Great Experience

I’ve never been paid to be a pick-up man at a rodeo.

My experience has only been at college practice sessions, or trying out horses.

When people watch a rodeo, the men who assist bronc riders safely to the ground, and clear the arena, mostly go unnoticed. If they’re doing a good job, there is no reason for the average spectator to pay any attention to their duties.

I’ve always wanted to be involved at the Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch. My wife and I have no children of our own, yet young kids are very important to us. I have personally seen how the sport of rodeo can change and effect lives for the better. A dear friend of mine has given me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. J.B. asked me to help him pick-up at the practice sessions for the Labor Day Rodeo.

This is the biggest and most important event at the Boy’s Ranch for the whole year. The young women at Girls Town are also involved all the way.

I’m only there to try and help, not to take over or get in the way. J.B. is not there for any benefit for himself, only to help and improve the kid’s chances, in and out of the arena. That’s what I’d like to do as well. Surely, my knowledge of the rodeo events could effect someone in a positive way.

I’m honored to have been asked to help pick-up at the Labor Day Rodeo. I hope I do a good job and can live in the moment. These kids are phenomenal. They come from everywhere and anywhere, and they try harder than most kids.

I wish them the best, at this rodeo, and for the rest of their lives.

Learning how to lose – Part Three

A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols

Learning how to lose – Part Three

Riding broncs provides a completely different way to lose. So many variables that are out of your control. For instance, the opinion of the judges.

Or; the men opening the gate can give you a bad start, not intentionally, usually by not paying attention, or just not understanding the importance of their job. The flank man can miss pull the flank for several reasons, or just not have it adjusted right. The pick-up men can get in the way and distract the horse. It might have rained and some horses won’t buck well in the mud. The stockman loading the horses might put your horse in the front chute when he wants to circle to the right, giving him no room to do so. Or maybe they put him out of a right hand delivery when he always circles left. Lot’s of things get overlooked during a rodeo performance because of the time limits and pressure to keep the event moving fast. When you draw a good horse, you expect to win, and it’s very frustrating when someone on the labor crew screws up your chance.

Sometimes, a bucking horse just won’t have his day, for no reason anyone can explain. In San Francisco, 1985, I place in the second go-round, and qualified for the short-go. First or second place was out of reach, but third in the average was mine with a score of seventy-three or better. They had previously scored seventy-six and seventy-seven in his first two outs on the horse I drew. I watched the film of him, and he was just a good solid bronc. I couldn’t wait. He started good and I was tapped off. He weakened, but I couldn’t tell what my score would be. Sixty-seven points later, I wanted to puke. I split sixth in the average three ways for a check you couldn’t pay for a six-pack of beer with. Go figure.

One more example of a hard loss to take. The New Mexico State Finals. A two go-round good amateur rodeo. I won second in the first round, and had kind of a rank horse for my second one. Big John of Edgar Wilson’s. Big Bay horse that would go about four jumps down the arena, then turn back and spin to the left. Hard son-of-a-gun to ride. Even though I knew his pattern, he still dumped me to the outside of the spin. I spent three seconds of the ride pushing off my right stirrup, trying to get square in the saddle. Finally, I got back in position and finished the ride well. The instant I heard the eight second horn, I reached down with my free hand and double grabbed my rein. I had all I wanted of Big John.

Even though I had my difficulties riding this horse, I figured I should still win third in the round, and that would be plenty good to win the overall average.

One judge gave me a no score, said I reached down before the whistle. I made my case, saying I heard the whistle, then double grabbed. He said no, I grabbed with my free hand just before the horn sounded. I said, “If I was going to grab down, I would have done it when I was hanging off like some kind of growth on the side of the horse, not after I got back in the middle of him.” He wasn’t interested in my theory.

Behind the chutes, a friend said to me, “You know why that happened, don’t you?”

“I guess I don’t,”

“The buzzer is at the other end of the arena. You heard the sound before the judge did.” I didn’t know, he didn’t know. He wasn’t trying to cheat me, it was just a circumstance. There’s lot’s of ways to lose, none of them good.

It takes perseverance and a good attitude to prevail, no matter what trail in life you’re heading down.

Learning How to Lose – Part Two

A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols


Learning How to Lose – Part Two

The manner in which a loss comes to you, can make a huge difference in your mental health for the next twenty-four hours while dealing with the let down. As discussed in part one, when you perform at your best and take advantage of your opportunities, you have to be satisfied no matter the results. But, when the reason for failure is totally your fault, it’s much harder to accept.

Another example from the United States Team Roping Finals in OKC a few years later. My partner and I were seventh high call back. Less than one second separated the top six, and the number one team only had 1.3 seconds advantage over us. When it was our turn to rope, we had to be a 7.2 to take the lead. A respectable time, but very doable.

My mistake was made by concentrating on the 7.2 time, instead of making the run as fast as the steer we had drawn would allow. If we were nine seconds plus, we would have won a lot of money. If I would have focused on the fundamentals, instead of a specific time, we had a steer that we could have easily roped in under seven seconds.

I skipped a very basic step. The steer veered left slightly, and I let my horse run in straight behind him. I should never have let this happen in the first place, but once I recognized I was out of position, I thought I could pull off the shot anyway. After all, we had to be 7.2, I didn’t want to take the time to move my horse over and correct my position.

I missed. I split the horns with my loop, and it flipped off empty. First place paid $69,000, and we had a legitimate opportunity to sack it up. I mentally blew it. Nobody’s fault but mine. No excuses, nothing to do with luck or circumstance, just my bone headed, blanked out lack of focus. Not only did I let myself down, but there’s your partner to consider too. Also your friends and family that have all gathered to watch you and want to see you succeed. It feels like you disappointed the whole world.

This took me years to recover from, if I have ever yet to completely. Before this incident, I was always so confident in the short go rounds. Roping well enough to qualify for the finals, gave me an aggressive, positive attitude, and I always roped my best when the money was up. Fighting off doubt and the fear of failure, became a new process for me. It took a long time to overcome the hesitation and learn to be proactive again.

Do we all let our past mistakes and misjudgments effect our future performance? Yes, we do. It’s just human nature. The secret that everybody knows, therefore it is really no secret, is to not dwell on the past, and to learn from our mistakes. We have to keep competing and repeating the process until we succeed. That’s the hard part, but it’s also no secret.

Learning how to lose – Part 1

A Pinch of Rodeo
                                             By Joe R. Nichols
Learning how to lose – Part 1
It’s been said, “To learn how to win, you first have to learn how to lose.”
Wise words, but very hard to live by. We all want to succeed, and any set backs are easily perceived as failures. In sports, most chances for success are foiled by a lack of focus, yielding to a distraction, or simply not trusting yourself at the key moment. I plan to discuss all of these scenarios, but this particular story is one where the negative outcome was not influenced by performance. The execution was flawless, it was simply bad luck statistically.
I grew up competing in all rodeo events, but when I quit riding bucking horses, I devoted my efforts to team roping. It’s probably the most humbling event. When you consider you have the minds and personalities of two cowboys, two horses, and a steer whose purpose is to be uncooperative, it’s difficult to have a positive result. It’s also why it is so rewarding when it does come together in a fast clean run.
One of my best long time partners was Wayne Roberts from Elkhart, Kansas. Wayne wanted to win, and knew how to win. We won our share for several years, and we always enjoyed the competition regardless of the outcome. One year in Oklahoma City at the USTRC Finals, we had the opportunity to compete for a first place pay-off of $98000.00.
There were over 700 teams in the preliminary, and we made the top 30 cut to advanced to the finals. All teams in the finals began the four head competition equal. After three go-rounds, we came back to the final and fourth round in 17th position. The big money was paid out to the top twelve placing’s.
Our first three steers were tricky and hard running cattle. We made good runs on every one of them, and felt fortunate to be coming back in a fairly high call back. In the fourth go, we drew a small black steer that had wide flat horns, and also held his head low. Each of these characteristics increased the difficulty for me to catch him, much less catch quick.
It seemed as though we could do no wrong. We went after him aggressively, and had the fastest time of the round. When we rode out of the arena, we were sitting in the number one position. We retrieved our ropes from the stripping chute, and hurried up to the arena fence to watch the rest of the competition. Wayne reached to shake my hand and put his other hand on my shoulder. “I don’t know how this is going to turn out,” he said, “But right now, you and me are winning 98,000 dollars.” We both threw our heads back and laughed, living in the moment.
Now, we had no misconceptions about actually winning first and the top money, but there was a lot of money to be won. We were assured of a large pay-off. The next two teams missed, so with fourteen teams to go, and twelve monies paid, we sat back to see how rich we would become.
The historic statistics of an event of this skill level almost always resulted in fifty percent of the teams being disqualified with no-times. Also in our favor, we had posted a fast time. Even the teams that qualified would have to make a fast run to beat us.
I’ve never seen this happen before or since, but the next fourteen teams in a row all caught, penalty free, and all in fast enough times to beat our total time on four head. We didn’t win a dime. I still can’t believe it. You don’t wish bad luck on anybody, you don’t root for them to screw up or miss, you just know what the odds are and how these deals end up. When you roped to the best of your ability, overcame some bad draws, then put the pressure on your competition with a good run, and still wind up with nothing, it’s a shock.
We did win $2500 each for the fast time in the short-round, and normally that would be considered a great win, but we still felt a let down at the time.
Looking back, it is one of my fondest memories. I can still hear my dear old friend say, “We’re winning $98,000!”

Anthologies a Good Place To Start

Anthologies a Good Place To Start.

by Natalie Bright

While you’re working on the novel have you thought about submitting a few short pieces to build your pub clip file and boost your ego?

Our critique group, WordsmithSix, came together in part from connections made through a local writing organization to combine with an existing group who lost several members, and through long time friends and new neighbors. We’ve been meeting since 2009.

We began with a common goal—get published. We’ve consistently produced, read our work to the group, revised (and revised some more), and submitted. Between us we’re now multi-published across several genres in short stories, inspirational, devotionals, and kid lit. Since 2010 we became active bloggers. Each success motivates us to keep writing. Every meeting inspires us to work harder.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I’d like to share a few of our recent works with you.

The Least He Could Do And Eleven Other Stories

Featuring Miss Bitsy by Nandy Ekle

From StoneThread Publishing comes an eclectic collection of twelve short stories. At times you’ll laugh out loud, and at times you’ll have to stop reading to let your heart calm down. This edition includes a story from WordsmithSix member Nandy Ekle. Miss Bitsy tells the tale about a kindly neighborhood grandmother who isn’t all she appears to be. This story gave me chills when I first read it in critique group, and I’m thrilled that it’s out there for everyone to enjoy. Way to go Nandy!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers

Featuring The Challenge by Rory C. Keel
Features 101 Motivational Stories for Writers. Sometimes we need to be challenged to write, and this would make a great gift for those special writers in your life. This edition features The Challenge, by WordsmithSix author Rory C. Keel.

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West Texas Christmas Stories

Featuring A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings by Natalie Bright

An anthology of more than 30 Christmas stories–short and upbeat, set in West Texas or by West Texas writers including Elmer Kelton and John Erickson. You’ll laugh out loud at the clever piece by editor Glenn Dromgoole about a holiday fruitcake, while other stories will evoke warm memories about past holidays.  My story, A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings, was inspired by the cowboys and their families who live and work on Texas cattle ranches. It’s an age old tradition and a proud heritage that continues today.

Texas Christmas Stories west texas christmas stories

Remember, books make great gifts!

Countdown to the WNFR-conclusion

A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols

Countdown to the WNFR-conclusion

Many of you might be surprised that I take an interest in Barrel Racing. There’s still plenty of the idiot horses around that gave Barrel Racers a bad reputation, but most of them these days are trained. I like to watch good horses no matter the discipline, and the Barrel Racing at the NFR is really exciting.

Sherry Cervi, Marana, AZ, leads the field. She is in the business of raising and training and in my opinion, sits a horse better than anyone else going. She leads Mary Walker of Ennis, TX, by $10,000.

Mary has an amazing life story, overcoming some personal tragedies that most of us can’t imagine. If you want to be inspired, research her. She has a big brown horse that doesn’t look like he’s running all that fast, his turns are nothing special, but he’s so consistent and he stops the clock in the money. The best part of her run is when they put the camera on her husband, Byron. He grinds his teeth, foam comes out of his mouth, and he flails around in his chair like he has rabies. He gets excited.

All these contestants are good cowgirls riding great horses, but I really think it will come down to these two ladies for the title, and that it will be close. I’ve heard Fallon Taylor has a super horse this year and she has experience, qualifying for her first NFR at 13 years old. Watch out for her. One other note, Trevor Brazile’s wife has qualified for her first Finals. I always think it’s special when spouses or family get to make the trip to the “Big Show” together.

J.W. Harris, Mullin, TX, is at the top of the leader board in the Bull Riding by $30,000. That may not be a safe lead, but it is substantial. He rides a high percentage of his bulls, so if he stays healthy, I don’t think anyone will threaten him for the title.

Another guy I will keep an eye on is Cooper Davis, a rookie who made the top 15 this year. I’ve only seen him ride a few times, but I’m impressed.

Ah, now to the classic event of rodeo. The true origin of the sport, the intellectual and sophisticated mans competition.

Cody Wright is my pick. He’ll have to beat back his two twin brothers to win it, but I still think the elder Wright is the best in the pack. He has a $20,000 lead. After the Etbauers, I didn’t think it would happen again to have three brothers in the same event the same year. But there’s a whole brood of these Wright boys in Utah, and they all ride the same. How can this be? We could see in the near future where if your last name isn’t Wright, you don’t get to go the Finals. They’re amazing.

Tyler Corrington, Hastings, MN., is in striking distance and certainly rides well enough to get it done. They all ride good or they wouldn’t be there, I’m just picking out some guys that get my attention.

Another bronc rider I like is Wade Sundell. He’s from the tall corn circuit, and sometimes I think they don’t want him to fit in. He goes 150 miles an hour every time he calls for the gate, and he is totally unconcerned. That’s my kind of bronc rider.

Thanks for reading and good luck to all the contestants. We’ll find out shortly if my predictions are valid. The first performance is Thursday, Dec.5th.

Countdown to the WNFR Part-2

A Pinch of Rodeo

 By Joe R. Nichols


Countdown to the WNFR Part-2


K.C. Field will dominate the Bareback Bronc Riding.

A bold statement, but one I believe will prove out. The Utah man comes in less than $6000 behind Bobby Mote, who now resides in Stephenville, TX. Will Lowe of Canyon, TX, is $5000 behind K.C.. There is a reason these three men are at the top of the standings, they ride better than the rest.

Bobby Mote rides good and looks even better doing it. Will Lowe is so correct and never makes a bobble. But K.C. has flash. A wow factor. Fast feet, aggressive style, yet no mistakes. I predict this will be his third consecutive title.

Roy Cooper was the most dominate and talked about calf roper when I was a kid growing up and on in to my own rodeo career. He revolutionized the event and changed it forever. His son, Tuff, is the next phenomenon and I believe before he is done, he’ll have all the records and could be considered as the best ever. He seems to be level and balanced in his life, dedicated to excellence, and has the confidence in his skill to win.

I mean no disrespect to the other qualifiers or even the next 16-30 guys in the world. There are so many great calf ropers. Trevor Brazile, Cody Ohl, Shane Hanchey, on and on.

Tuff Cooper still stands out.

For years, I have defended the Team Ropers at the Finals, but no more.

Every year I would hear people say, “Those Team Ropers are terrible. They’re suppose to be the best in the world, and they can’t even catch.”

I would then remind these experts that when you are trying to be four flat or less, it’s not a high percentage shot. A late four second run won’t place in a lot of go-rounds at the NFR. What’s the point in making a five or six second run and not winning a dime?

But the last few years have been different. The older veterans will use a steer that will let them be fast and place in the round, but if the opportunity is not there, they still catch and keep themselves in the contest. These young guns have made up their mind to be 3.5 every time they back in the box, no matter what. Sometimes it’s just not there and one more swing can get things right. But they throw it anyway and wave it off or miss the left horn. There have been times towards the end of the round, when it was wide open, like 9.2 was winning third, and the last several teams still took themselves out of it trying to win first. Somebody has to win third through sixth for $11,000 down to $3000. What’s the matter with them? I wish all the Team Ropers good luck, and maybe they’ll rope smart this year.

I think Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith will be contenders this year, but the team I would point out would be Nick Sartain and Rich Skelton. They could light ’em up and win the whole deal.

Thanks for reading. I’ll conclude my thoughts next week.