When asked why he became a rodeo cowboy, Tuf Cooper pauses before replying, “Dad’s a World Champion. Brother’s a World Champion. Uncle’s a World Champion. I was born to do this.” While some of it may be in his genes, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to be the 2017 PRCA All-Around World Champion and current top-ranked cowboy in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Standings.
Tuf may not have been born with a rope in hand, but it certainly appears that he was born to rope. From a very young age, it was about practice and repetition. Whether on the ground with a roping dummy or learning how to master horsemanship, Tuf’s life was all about working at the craft. “When I was 14 years old I realized I had an opportunity [to be a very good cowboy].” That opportunity came from using his gift, recommitting to loftier goals each year, and never giving up. “All day every day, I wanted it more. I tried as hard as I could to have more heart. I knew if I consistently worked as hard as I could and brought the best out of me, it would work out.”
There is little doubt about Tuf’s favorite part of being the world’s best rodeo cowboy: “Winning. That’s what I’m after. It’s what I’ve been after since I first found out what it was. It’s why I work as hard as I can every day.”
Tuf knows what he wants. “I want to be the best cowboy. I want to get every record and every title I can get my hands on. I think if you realize what you’re after and you have a goal to be the best, it keeps you up at night. If that’s what you want out of life then go after it 100%, with your whole heart, and work as hard as you possibly can at it, believing in yourself. Know how blessed you are to be able to work at something, to be able to work towards something. Realize what you’re good at and be passionate about it.”