Number and end: I’m a straight five, and I like to heel better.
Rope of choice: I started really liking the hard-medium Xplosion, Trevor (Brazile) got me turned onto that one.
Biggest win: This last weekend I won the #11 at the Lariat Bowl and won $11,000. That was by far my biggest check.
Favorite roping: The Lariat Bowl is my favorite now. I really like the World Series ropings and the US Finals. They are just so good because they pay out so well. Stephenville’s World Series was great, and there were a lot of teams. It was run so good. They run through them fast, and you’re out of there. The Lariat Bowl was just run so smoothly, too, and they are so fair about everything. It seems like all the World Series ropings I go to have decent cows, and they’ve just become my favorites.
Why you rope? My grandpa got me into roping when I was little. He trained calf horses in Florida, and I started messing with them when I was little. I love roping more than anything but my daughter. Everyone has that one thing that keeps them sane. This is my stress reliever, and I just love the competition and the comrade. I’m a pretty social person, and it’s good to see people you wouldn’t normally see. You go to Salado or the US Finals and you see people you don’t see more than once or twice a year. And then you meet new people, like Phillip (Shurden). He asked me if I was staying for the #11 at the Lariat Bowl, and I wasn’t even planning to. But I knew he was such a good run, that I decided to stay.
Real job: I was a school teacher for four years, and then took a break to drive for Trevor Brazile this last year until the Finals. I drove to the Finals for Drew Horner, and now I’m thinking about going back to teaching.
What was it like driving for Trevor? It was awesome. It was a lot of long hours. They say being a driver is a thankless job, and that’s probably true, but it’s still so important. I was responsible for getting horses everywhere, getting them saddled, and I was the first one on them. I knew how they were feeling, if they were sound.The job is just a lot more important than I originally thought it was. It was like we became part of the family. I learned a lot about my horsemanship, got to rope with him all the time. I got to see a lot of cool places, meet all of the best guys––It was a lot better than just driving.
Best horse you’ve ever owned: I had this little bay mare that I gave to my daughter, and her name was Lizzie. She was the first heel horse I ever had. She taught me so much about heeling, as much as any person. She was so automatic, she’d just put me there. I won my first saddle off of her. She’s crippled now and we retired her, and she’s out in the pasture. We roped calves off her, she was just all around awesome.
Family: Most important one is my daughter Katie. Ever since she could walk she’d be at ropings. I’d be backing in the box and I could hear her running up and down the aluminum stands playing. She’s stood beside me all the time helping me. She’s my world, she’s everything. My mom, TJ Nichols, and my dad, Larry Tiner, are behind me trying to stay positive and always encouraging.
Competition philosophy: When I back in the box, on a normal run, I just think, “How can I help my header?” Trevor taught me probably one of the most important things about heeling: Don’t rope them until you know you’re going to catch them. Heeling to me is more of a reaction. I learned that from Patrick (Smith). I’ve got to be able to react but at the same time not hurry myself and take a good shot. If you kick over a few hops, that’s better than a no time any day.