Heart of Rodeo

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Madeleine Williamson    College Times

Incoming ASU freshman Rube Woolsey is a three-time rodeo champion who has competed around the nation.

Recently, the amateur rodeo star moved from his Casa Grande ranch to ASU’s Hassayampa Academic Village so he could study business.

“I’m excited and definitely a little bit nervous, too,” he says. “I’ve always lived in a very rural area so this will be a bit different for me.”

Business was a natural choice for Woolsey, who cites the subject as a passion of his.

“I’ve always loved making business deals,” he says.

Before he entered ASU, Woolsey followed in his family’s rodeo footsteps. He spent 10 months of the year participating in Jackpots, or mini rodeos.

“My dad taught me how to rope,” he says. “My first rodeo was when I was either 5 or 6.”

Woolsey participates in team roping, a timed event with two riders (the header and the heeler) and a steer. The header ropes the front of the steer, while the heeler ropes the steer’s hind feet. When the steer has been successfully roped, the timer stops. Woolsey is a header.

“It’s the header’s job to set up properly so the heeler can finish the job,” he says. Without the proper setup, the event could be unsuccessful.

Woolsey loves the thrill of the rodeo, especially “the competitiveness, just going out there and putting your skills to the test.” He dedicates a good chunk of his time to rodeo.

“I ride every day and rope about three times a week,” says Woolsey, who still finds time for weightlifting, golfing, his friends and his dog, Grizz.

Despite all the work he puts in, he always has time for school, but sometimes not teenage rites of passage.

“I never really struggled with it,” Woolsey says of school. “I always tried to get work done in school or while at school. There were a lot of events in high school that I missed out on, but for me, it was worth it because I was doing what I love.”

Woolsey plans to balance ASU and rodeos so he can hit the local circuit. He wants to push toward his goal of going professional, and persuading ASU students to check out the events.

“Everyone should try to make it to a local rodeo, if they have one,” he says. “It’s a really beautiful sport and everyone should be exposed to it at least one time.” CT

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