Perk 'cowboy ropes for a title

This ain't his first rodeo, and it won't be his last.

Perkinston resident Colton Redmond placed sixth in the calf roping division of the Professional Cowboy Association Rodeo Finals last week, competing against the best pro cowboys in the Southeastern United States. The grand champion calf roping title came down to within two seconds.

"I was in good shape until the last night," Redmond said. "I drew this goofy little calf, and it made me a little too long."

Calf roping is a timed event where the calf runs out of a chute, and the cowboy follows on horseback. The rider must rope the calf, jump off of his horse, and tie the calf by his hooves as fast as he can. There are time penalties if the cowboy ropes too soon, ropes the wrong part of the calf, or if the calf comes untied before the buzzer.

The top ropers on Sunday night were all roping under 10 seconds.

Redmond's calf was roped and tied in about 6 seconds. Instead of running straight, Redmond's calf went awry and had to be roped from an angle, but Redmond still got the calf down and tied well before other competitors.

Before the rodeo started last week, the cowboys drew numbers corresponding with the ear tag I.D. on each calf, so the task requires a little bit of luck and a whole lot of skill.

"We hand draw those calves, so we don't have any control over who gets what," Redmond explained. "So it could have gone either way…I could have roped a little bit faster, or I could have drawn a better calf. You can only practice so much, but you need a pretty good dance partner.

He said most of his competitors rope and rodeo for a living, so he knew he was competing against some top hands.

"I rope pretty good, but I know a lot of those guys rodeo for a living," he said.

Redmond knows you win some, and you lose some.

Redmond won the overall average title in the 2011 PCA Finals ten years ago.

He has been riding and roping since he was a small child growing up in Stone County. Redmond competed on the high school rodeo circuit and won the highest in the state for calf roping and team roping two years in a row. After graduating from Stone High, Redmond enrolled in a junior college in Wyoming, where he worked as a cowboy in between studying to be a farrier.

Now 31, Redmond runs his farrier service and shoes horses locally.

He and his wife, Morgan, run a small farm in the county. When he is not working, he ropes and rides on his Quarter Horse mare, Rhonda.

Local businesses Pearl River Land and Timber and Wrens Trucking sponsor Redmond on his circuit. In the coming weeks, he will travel to compete in Alexandria and Monroe, Louisiana, for cash prizes and silver buckles.

"I've really got a pretty packed schedule," Redmond said.