(Editor’s note: Regulars at the Cody Nite Rodeo this summer will be featured every Wednesday.)
You won’t see his name on the scoreboard much, but you’ll see Texas native Pecos Winters just about every night at the Cody Nite Rodeo.
The 24-year-old pickup man already has more than a decade of experience under his belt keeping rodeo contestants safe.
Cody Enterprise: Is this your first time here at the rodeo?
Pecos Winters: This is my first time at Cody. I’ve been here about a week now.
CE: Will you be here for a while?
PW: I’ll be here all summer, picking up broncs, taking care of the bucking horses, the cowboys, all of that.
CE: How did you become a pickup man?
PW: I was kind of born into it. My dad had a rodeo company, he picked up broncs, his dad picked up broncs at the rodeo company. My mom, Jean Winters, she won Calgary, went to the (National Finals Rodeo).
So I was just kind of born into rodeo and went into picking up broncs whenever the time came around that I was old enough. I’ve actually been picking up since I was 11 years old.
CE: How were you even big enough to start picking up when you were 11?
PW: It takes skill. laughs
CE: What brought you to Cody this year?
PW: A friend of mine, Brett Franks, called me and said that Maury [Tate, the stock contractor] was needing some help, so I called Maury and he told me to come out and help him. Good friends, basically.
CE: Do you have any rituals you go through to prepare for the night’s events?
PW: Not really. I make sure my horses are tight, make sure my horses are sound. If my horses aren’t in good shape, things can go bad real quick. I check with the other guy I’m picking up with and make sure his horses are all good. We get a game plan on which ones we’re riding for bareback or saddle bronc riding.
CE: Do you have to have a good connection with the guy you’re picking up with?
PW: There’s kind of a brotherhood. You sure enough need to know what they’re thinking before they think it. And you have to know what that horse is thinking three steps before he ever thinks it, because you need to be there before anything to keeps those cowboys and keep horses safe.
CE: What’s it like living on the rodeo grounds?
PW: I have a living-quarters horse trailer, and me and my fiance came up here for the summer and we’ll be here for the whole deal.
CE: So it’s all rodeo, all time?
PW: Eighty days or however many it is. I can’t remember for sure.
CE: What are you going to do when the Cody Nite Rodeo ends?
PW: I’ll go back home. I shoe horses for a living, usually. I’ll go back home and rodeo down in Texas, where it’s warm. I don’t do cold.
CE: What’s your favorite rodeo memory?
PW: A couple years ago, I was picking up broncs at a bronc-riding school down in Texas and I actually picked up that school with my dad. At the same time, my brother was in the school, so I was picking up my brother with my dad. So I kind of saved his (butt).