14 Questions with Professional Team Roper Austin Shirley
RodeoChat: Austin, how did you get into team roping? Does it run in the family?
Austin Shirley: Well, I always watched it on TV an went to rodeos as a kid. I actually grew up riding bareback but something about TR had me wanting to try it an so I tried it an fell in love. I’m actually a first generation rodeo cowboy.
RodeoChat: Wow! So your actually setting the bar pretty high in your family. How does it feel to be a first generation cowboy?
Austin Shirley: I am 6′ 4″ so the bar has always been high lol an it’s great. My parents are behind me 150% an I can’t wait to break records an see what I can do in the sport. I love it!!!
RodeoChat: You mentioned earlier that you rode buckin horses.. How long did you ride them for before you switched to Team Roping?
Austin Shirley: I was a bareback rider From age 7 til 20 an roped a little here an there but I have only just Team Roped for about 5 years. Team Roping to me is like NASCAR to Jeff Gordon or Football to Peyton Manning. I can’t get enough of it.
RodeoChat: Perfect description! Lol. Austin, Would you say bareback riding is harder than team roping or the same?
Austin Shirley: Nothing in rodeo is easy. I just felt like my heart was into Team Roping more so I stuck with my heart an here I am.
RodeoChat: How does a team roper get approved for PRCA?
Austin Shirley: Well it’s not easy. You must fill a permit an submit an app an hope an pray you have what it takes. I didn’t win enough my first year on my permit but I kept after it an I filled my permit. Filled out the app an here I am.
RodeoChat: What kind of hard work did it take to get your PRCA card?
Austin Shirley: Countless hours of prep, practice, an dedication. Nothing worth having comes easy. You must work everyday even after you have achieved something like getting your pro card. Success never takes a day off. Neither do I!
RodeoChat: You also work a day job along with your Team Roping career. How do you handle a schedule like that?
Austin Shirley: ABSOLUTE dedication. Like I said nothing comes easy an I gotta pay to play the sport of rodeo an to do that gotta have money coming in. So I work my day job, come home, rope either live steers or a dummy everyday.
RodeoChat: For sure! So what do you do in your free time?
Austin Shirley: Free time? What’s that lol? I enjoy just watching Oklahoma State football an basketball. Shooting hoops an golfing.
RodeoChat: Haha! Exactly.. So what’s your Team Roping schedule look like for 2014?
Austin Shirley: We are planned all the way in to April already. Gonna hit some good, big rodeos an hopefully you’ll see us in Vegas in December. We are going to some good jackpots as well so it’s gonna be a good year.
RodeoChat: Wicked! What’s the first rodeo your entered up in for 2014?
Austin Shirley: Well the debut of #teamShirleyNClay is happening in Denver this year. Can’t wait.
RodeoChat: Shirley an Clay has a good ring to it. So tell us about your new team roping partner for 2014.
Austin Shirley: Well it’s a young gun named Kacey Clay. He is a salty little heeler an been know to ride a bull or two. We’ve roped a lot together at jackpots an open rodeos an one day we said hey lets chase the NFR together so here we are.
RodeoChat: Right? What’s a dream without a risk. For those out there looking for team roping partners. Where’s a good place to start?
Austin Shirley: Well just find someone your comfortable with. Heck go to jackpots with 2-3 guys rope with em all an just see who you click with an who you feel good with get your timing an you’ll be alright, but just make sure it’s fun for the both of you. Because if you’re not having fun then it’s not worth it.
RodeoChat: Great advice! So what’s something totally random about you that nobody knows?
Austin Shirley: I love MOPAR hot rods. I drive nothing but a cummins so anything dodge or MOPAR. I love it!
RodeoChat: Your big into social media, right? Where can all your fans keep up with you down the trail?