Dating A Team Roper: 101

Photo: Chad Nunnelee

We all want to find “the one”.  It’s ingrained in our brains at an early age that the ultimate goal in life is to find a partner, settle down, get married, and start a family.  It’s the whole white picket fence bit and once you hit 30, the pressure is on.  Whether you accept that or not is entirely up to you.  But, I’m here to tell you that dating in this day and age seriously sucks.  Especially if you are a team roper.  Take it from me, a 30-something year old woman (a lady never fully discloses her age, right?) who spent the entirety of her 20’s traveling the country from rodeo to rodeo, jackpot to jackpot, and never had time to settle down.  Trust me when I say, Christmases in my household are a real hoot!

“Are you seeing anyone these days?”

“When are you going to settle down?”

“You know, there comes a time when you have to grow up and start thinking about your future.”

At my age, I’m quite certain that this team roping thing isn’t just a phase in my life.  It is my hobby, my passion, and my lifestyle.  Once I came to that realization, I knew that the fairy tale love story would be tough to come by.

Let’s face it, there may be a lot of fish in the sea, but the pond of potential spouses who are willing to put up with a team roper’s lifestyle is quite small.  We are a special breed and it takes a very unique and very tolerant person to walk hand-in-hand with us through this thing we call life.

It all started with a number.  No, I don’t mean my TRIAD number.  Believe me, I was confused about that also.  I travel a lot and I am in the public eye most of the time.  Not trying to toot my own horn here, but there is never a shortage of messages in my inbox from people I don’t know.  So, when I get a message from someone and their profile picture is of them pantyhosing a steer, when they ask for my number, I automatically assume they mean TRIAD.  Well, you know what they say about assumptions!  How many great dates have I missed out on because I answered “4” when someone asked for my number?  It’s hard to say, but I imagine quite a few.

If you are going to ask a team roper for their number, make sure that you clarify “TRIAD” or “PHONE”.

Moving on…

We live in an age where people no longer communicate, unless it’s by text.  They no longer date…they “hang out”.  And what the heck is Netflix and chill anyway?  My residence is a horse trailer…that’s not even an option for me.  So, my next big dating dilemma is finding time to get to know someone.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by friends and family, “You should just try online dating.  My aunt’s daughter’s second cousin twice removed found the love of her life on FarmersOnly.com!”  They always laugh and think I’m joking when I say I prefer to live out the rest of my days surrounded by cats.  But, to appease the masses, I joined one of those “swipe left or right” sites, where I soon discovered that I couldn’t get a date because my non-existent spare time is consumed by horses, rather than hiking, traveling to Indonesia, and taking photos of my food.

I met a nice boy on there once.  He wasn’t a team roper and had nothing to do with horses.  But, I thought he was handsome and I was quite certain he wasn’t a catfish, so I swiped right.  We talked for a few days until he asked if he could take me out.  The conversation went a little like this…

“What are your plans this weekend?  I would love to take you out to dinner.”

“Well, I am leaving for a roping on Friday and I won’t be back until late on Sunday night.”

“Oh, that’s awesome!  What about next weekend?”

“Next weekend I have a rodeo 3 states away.  We leave Thursday night and should be back Monday, God willing.”

Slight pause…

“Ok…how about Tuesday night?”

“Uh, Tuesday’s are bad for me.  We run the steers through at the roping club Tuesday nights and it’s really the only time during the week I get to practice.”

Needless to say, that was the last time I heard from that fine gentleman and I removed myself from that dating site the very next day.

It was then that I was told that the “swipe left or right” sites were no bueno.  I needed to join a site like match.com or e-Harmony that matches people based on their personalities.  Seemed legit until I got to the first question.

“What is your ideal first date?”

I bet you could probably guess that “Going to a jackpot followed by drinking beer at the horse trailer” was not one of the options.

I abruptly ended my free trial.

Dating in 2018 is tough.  It’s tough for anyone, let alone team ropers.  We live in a hook-up, throw-away society where nothing seems to last.  But for team ropers, life is a little different.  We tend to have an appreciation for things that most would see as an inconvenience.  It’s late nights on the road and early mornings at the entry office.  It’s braving snow, rain, sleet, wind, bitter cold and blazing heat.  It’s vacations to sandy arenas rather than sandy beaches.  It’s a fine cuisine of microwave corndogs and quesadillas for dinner.  It’s messy houses and piles of dirty laundry because you live more outdoors than indoors.  It’s catching cowboy church on Sunday’s at the arena rather than your hometown congregation.  It’s horses before humans.  It’s holidays spent at jackpots.  It’s high fives and cold beers and so much more.

I truly believe that there is someone out there for everyone.  So, keep your eyes open and don’t give up hope.  And when you do find someone who loves the little things just as much as you do, dally up and hold on tight, because that is the real prize!

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