AQHYA World Championship Show 2014
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July 31-August 8, 2015, Oklahoma City

Journal at the World

August 9, 2012

The Roper from Indiana

Houston Huff prepares to rope against some big competition.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Houston Huff of Evansville, Indiana

Houston Huff always has a rope in his hand, even if it's only to rope his sister, Harley. (Journal photo)

Houston Huff came to Oklahoma City to rope.

The Evansville, Indiana, native only picked up a rope about five years ago, but he’s already an avid fan of the discipline.

In fact, he loves roping so much that he traded three good show calves for his first roping horse.

“Me and my grandpa were in (showing calves) real big,” Houston said. “He died a couple of years ago, so I didn’t get to go to as (shows) many as I could. Now I show horses. That worked out good for me.”

It worked out well enough that Houston is showing in heading and heeling at the 2012 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

“I’m from Indiana, so I state-qualified,” he said. “There aren’t many ropers up by me, so I state-qualified.”

Houston might be a newbie to roping, but he’s an old hand at AQHYA competition.

“My sister (Harley is) big into all-around,” he said. “I used to show pleasure horses. I had a reiner a couple of years ago and I showed her out here and did all right with her. I got about 60 points on my reiner. I’d go to AQHA shows with him, and there were no reiners there, so I started doing everything else. He turned out to be an amazing showmanship horse for me. He was a really cool little horse. I liked him a lot.”

But he likes his current horse, Mistys Hickory Dawn, even better.

“She’s a 7-year-old mare,” Houston said. “She started in the cow horse as a 3-year-old. I started heading on her as a 4-year-old and then finished her in the heading. Last year, we started heeling on her, and I think she’s a better heel horse now that she is heading. She’s real fun to be around with me. She’s funny with other people. She’s a little shy. Kinda high-strung but calm at the same time. I don’t know how to explain that, but she’s a cool horse. I like her a lot.”

About a week before the Ford Youth World started, Houston spent some time with AQHA Professional Horseman John Briggs, whose son Bryce also likes to rope. Both of them visited AQHA Professional Horseman C.R. Bradley, a roper who lives nearby, several times to practice.

So Houston feels as prepared as possible for a first-time roper at the Ford Youth World.

“(The mare) hasn’t really been in the coliseum before, so we’ll see how she is,” he said. “I used to like heeling a lot better, but my heading’s getting better. They’re about even right now. We’ll see how it goes here and then I might decide (which I like better).”

And even if things go poorly, there’s always next year.

Besides, “I love doing anything with cows,” he said.

Even if it means trading some of them for a good horse.