What’s Your Number? with Chris Cox

Trainer Chris Cox of Mineral Wells, Texas
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Trainer Chris Cox of Mineral Wells, Texas

Number and End: I’m #5, but I think they’re going to move me. I rope heads. I used to rope feet a bit.

Credit: Brenda Allen Photo

Credit: Brenda Allen Photo

Rope of Choice: The Xplosion Super Soft Lite, I don’t think it’s on the market yet.

Biggest Win: I was second this year at Perry DiLoreta’s Reno Rodeo Invitational heading, and I was second in 2011. I was also second in the three-steer heeling. That year I rode Rich Skelton’s horse, Nine. That’s the one he’s riding now, but back then he hadn’t been anywhere yet.

Is that Your Favorite Roping? I don’t have time to rope much, but the Perry fits into my schedule pretty well. I’m showing cutting horses in December and I’m gone a lot. I rope at three ropings a year, so I don’t go to any jackpots around the house or anything. In addition to the Perry, I rope at the US Finals. This year I was third in the #12. I went to the Wildfire and was fourth or fifth in that. That’s the most I’ve been to.

How are you so successful when you don’t go much? I prepare for it. Rich and I do a clinic every year. I’ve also been fortunate enough to help some of the best ropers with their horses. Charly Crawford comes by here some. Chad Masters will bring some green horses by. I help them with their horses and they help me with my roping, so it’s a pretty good trade. Of course, Rich and I are good friends and we’ve done some clinics together. 

Why You Rope: Being able to infuse some of my horsemanship into roping motivates me. There are close to 300,000 team ropers and, compared to cutters, there’s only about 8,000 active cutters, so that’s a huge market. A lot of people are getting into it in their 50s and 60s, so it’s a growing market and that’s great to see.

How would you characterize the horsemanship in team roping? Kids are born with a rope in their hand. They’re reaching before they can even ride a horse. Their roping is taking priority over their riding. They can all rope and everyone of them is capable of winning a world title, but what separates them today is their horsemanship. In the last couple of years, I’ve been seeing the pros want to get better in their horsemanship.

What’s the Best Horse You Ever Rode? That’s a good question. I’ve got a gelding in here that I bought from Dean Tuftin named Hank that’s had some problems, but he’s a really nice horse. I rode Chad Masters’ bay horse the other day, been on Travis Tryan’s and Speed Williams’ horses, some really nice horses, so I can’t really give you an answer. I like horses that don’t take my throw away.

Competition Philosophy: I just made a proposal to myself to never beat myself. As long as I don’t beat myself, I’m OK. You can learn how to rope and you can learn how to ride, but you have to learn how to win. You have to be mentally prepared and confident. As the day goes on, I like to get more aggressive.