by Allison GraysonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Gary Don Hughes has captured his second heeling world championship at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show with his horse, BB Quick Hancock. The pair won in 2009 and took home the bronze in 2010.
Gary says he has a good friend to thank for bringing “BB” into his life.
“First of all I’d like to thank God, he’s the reason that I’ve got him,” he said. “A good friend of mine, Mike Roe, is the one that actually had him. When he was 2, I bought him off of him, basically sight-unseen.
“He and I grew up together, he won third in the heading (at the 2012 World), but he had the horse and when I got him he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a horse you need,’ and I had a horse up (at the World Show) then, and he said, ‘You need to buy that colt.’”
The rest was history from there.
“I bought the colt, didn’t even look at him and that’s him,” he said with a laugh.
Although Gary has only had BB for four years now, he has been a part of the roping community for quite a while.
“My brother and I got started riding when I was about 15 years old,” he said. “And we had (ridden) all our life, but we started roping together when I was about 15 or 16 and just started from there. Now that’s a long time ago, about 35 years ago.”
“But my brother came and said to me one day, ‘Hey, you wanna head or heel?’ and I said, ‘I think I wanna heel,’” he said. “And my brother said, ‘Good, I wanna head!’ and that’s the way we went from there on.”
After all of his years of roping, Gary knows a good run when he gets one. And he was very proud of his prelim and finals runs with BB.
“It went really well today and yesterday, too, so I was blessed with two good steers,” he said. “Everything went really smooth. No problems, no hitches anywhere. Sometimes there’s some hitches, but (there weren’t any) either time this week, so it went well.”
And for Gary, half the fun of competing is doing his own work on his horses.
“I do (my own training), pretty much,” he said. “I like to get a young horse and mess with him myself until I get him where I want him to go. And train him myself or whatever and that’s the fun part of it, you know, getting one that you really like and going where you want him to go.”
Gary had several people that he wanted to thank after his winning run.
“I want to thank Mike Roe,” he said. “I’ve got a friend of mine, Jody Ramer, who does a lot of help with me, too. (And) there’s an older gentlemen, (C. Walker) who helped me train a lot of horses. He taught me a bunch of stuff.
“(I also want to thank) my brother and my nephew. My nephew Blake was the one heading for me tonight, so I want to thank him and our family that’s all come up here,” he said.
Gary also explains that it never hurts having a professional roper for a nephew.
“He’s a professional header, so it’s pretty good to have him around,” he said with a laugh. “He goes to a lot of the pro rodeos and stuff, so he’s 22 or 23 years old. And he ropes really, really good, so I don’t have to worry about it, I just bring him up here and pay him part of my prize money and go on with it.”
Gary Don Hughs and BB Quick Hancock take their second heeling world championship. (Journal photo).