By: Julia Dondero
“I want to make a living in team roping. I’d run the chute or ride horses if I couldn’t make a living team roping. I just love it that much.” Buddy Hawkins quoted the late, great Leo “The Lion” Camarillo in expressing his passion for the sport.
Buddy Hawkins, the 2023 Reliance Ranches VRQ Bonus Champion Heeler (alongside his brother-in-law Andrew Ward), closes the year victoriously, pocketing over $60,000 through World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) events and bonuses over the past year. These significant paychecks have enabled Hawkins to pursue his passion for team roping while also providing for his family. Rooted by his faith and his love for his family, Hawkins is driven to make a living pursuing his passion for team roping.
“My faith is my priority, My goal is to make a living team roping and caring for my family. I’m very grateful to rodeo full-time,” explained the 2022 Cowtown Christmas champion.
Hawkins also gratefully accredited the WCRA and its leadership for their continued investment in the sport.
“I have a great appreciation for those investing in the sport of rodeo and leaving it better than they found it” reflects Hawkins, who hopes the sport will continue to grow for future generations and allow more athletes to make a living pursuing their passions.
For Hawkins, the copious opportunities allotted by the WCRA, have made a significant impact on his professional career, allowing him to further invest in himself, his horses, and his family. A true gambler at heart, Hawkins views the nomination opportunities as a true investment in the development of his career.
“I look at it like chips. I’m looking to see what is going to be best for myself and my family long-term,” said Hawkins. “Investing in the nomination process, the WCRA has provided many opportunities to make our life happen.”
While at Rodeo Carolina, the Hawkins and Ward did more than defend their leaderboard position. Earning over $6,000 when the Tryon International Equestrian Center dust settled, the duo concluded the event as runners-up to Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry.
“Rodeo Carolina was a great opportunity to compete against great ropers in a competitive format, and we were grateful for the opportunity to see a different area and compete for the title,” said Hawkins.
Building off of a successful WCRA series and PRCA season, Hawkins looks ahead to the Stampede At The E. Come January at the Fabulous Lazy E Arena, Hawkins will have his sights set on yet another major event win.
“I look forward to competing at the Stampede At The E in January. I aim to continue to nominate and start the new year off strong,” said the husband and father of two.
Sticking to the same nomination strategy that earned him the 2023 Reliance Ranches VRQ Bonus, Hawkins will look to continue nominating through the nomination period and stay at the top of the leaderboard.