Buckle Up with Kinney Harrell

Harrell is the World Champion Badass donkey roper.
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Harrell is the World Champion Badass donkey roper.

There might be only one cowboy alive who’s won the World Championship Goat Roping, the World Championship Switch-Ender and the World Championship Donkey Roping, and that cowboy is Kinney Harrell.

Kinney Harrell

In 2006, Harrell completed his triple crown in Hamilton, Texas, roping with Buddy Reed at the World Championship Donkey Roping Bobby Joe Hill produced.

“I was rodeoing with Tee Woolman at the time,” Harrell remembers. “Tee laughed at me and said he wasn’t going to a stupid donkey roping. But then I got there and Rambo (Randon Adams) and Turtle (Powell) and (a very young) Dakota (Kirchenschlager) were there. It was a six-header, and I don’t think they were expecting near as many teams as they got. They got like 640 teams, and they only had about 100 donkeys. They got pretty sour pretty quick as you can imagine.”

“I entered 29 times on Taz. I headed and heeled on him both. He would have been 8 years old at the time. I won’t forget that. Me and Randon were trying to figure out who entered the most. He entered 34 times on a trailer load of horses.”

Kinney Harrell Heeling

And why would a WNFR-qualifying cowboy enter a donkey roping 29 times on one horse?

“When I got there, I picked the 10 or 15 best partners that I felt like I could get, and then I saw people that couldn’t get runs, and I felt bad for them,” Harrell explained. “So I roped with every girl and every older person who asked me to rope. I decided that day I wasn’t going to tell anybody no.”

Harrell cleared about $4,000 that day, along with a saddle and a tooled-leather portfolio. But he came there with his sights fixed on this buckle. And when it came time for the short round, he did everything he could to take it home.

“We were second high team back, and when he nodded, the donkey went out the lane and circled into the heel box. I had to run him out of the heel box before he could head him. When he circled back at me, my header left the box, and I ran at the donkey screaming and hollering and about the time he took off that guy just dabbed it on him and I heeled him quick. I just wanted that buckle that said I’m a World Champion Badass.”