“Cowboy Christmas” usually refers to the days nearest the Fourth of July, with rodeos, and in many cases, prize money, to be found seemingly anywhere and everywhere an interested rider or roper can look.
Bodie Hine, however, had been celebrating for at least a fortnight by the time fireworks went skyward.
And after all the ammo explodes, he’ll be rejoining the bash as a well-traveled entrant in the upcoming National High School Finals Rodeo, to be held July 14-21 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” said Hine, son of Richie and Jennifer Hine. “It’s the biggest rodeo in the world besides the NFR, and going in, as a state champ, you’ve got a lot on your shoulders. You’ve got to back it up.”
“Being my first year in high school rodeo, there’s a lot of pressure to it,” he added. “But I’ve been roping every day and I just got a new horse, so I feel like I’m ready.”
Virtually representing at once three of the Four Corners’ contingent states, the Pine River Valley-reared 15-year-old freshman, who qualified through New Mexico for last summer’s National Junior High Finals Rodeo, will make his first NHSFR appearance as an Arizona High School Rodeo Association team roper due to having spent time wintering in the Casa Grande area, conducive to year-round practice and competition, while still calling Ignacio home.
And not just any team roper, but half of, essentially, one of the top 50 prep-level pairs in the nation.
At the AHSRA State Finals, June 5-8 in Payson, Arizona, Hine and partner Clay Cherry of Stanfield, Arizona, wrapped up the 2018-19 campaign achieving first place in both the event average, totaling 28.610 seconds on three attempts (12.690-8.010-7.910), with Cherry heading and Hine heeling, and year-end points by a wide margin over Trey Bugay of Tuba City in Arizona and Cortez’s Cody Lansing.
Hine and Cherry, both homeschooled, began the season this past September at a two-day stop in Payson, where they placed third and seventh, respectively. They improved to second at the Arizona State Fair in October. The duo first tasted victory beginning 2019 with a win at the Florence No. 1 rodeo.
In preparation for the state finals, held at the Payson Event Center, the tandem was tops at the Sonoita No. 1 on May 11, and second the next day,which all but clinched the title for the first-time teammates.
“I told my partner in New Mexico that I wasn’t going to go back,” Hine recalled, alluding to the decision to both reside and compete in the Grand Canyon State, “and I had another guy in Arizona, (Cherry) won state last year, ask me to rope and I told him, ‘Yeah.’ So I switched to Arizona because I was going to be in Arizona for all the rodeos.”
“I’m on the Smarty Young Pro Team,” Hine continued. “Smarty’s a big, like, roping-dummy company, and they have a pro team in PRCA so they made a young pro team. They took 80 kids and they have camps and stuff you go to, rope with Allen Bach, he’s a world champ and owns the company, and all the pro guys, and I was there. I roped really, really good and Clay is on the same team. We didn’t know each other but he saw me rope, we talked and he called me about two weeks later.”
Hine competed more recently in Reno, Nevada, at a Junior World Finals qualifier June 21-22, and the Finals, to be held in Las Vegas Dec. 5-14.
Preceding the prestigious Bob Feist Roping Invitational, he then traveled almost immediately afterwards to Gallup, New Mexico’s Red Rock Park to represent Team Arizona at the June 26-29 Bloomer Trailers Best of the Best Timed Event Rodeo.
“Well, Reno didn’t go too good. I just had some bad luck with partners and stuff, I had five of them and you can’t win ’em all,” he recalled. “And Gallup, it was the same way; we drew a bad steer in the first round, took a horn on him and we ended up being 11 (seconds) on him. Second round, we were seven-flat but were just too long to make the cut.
“It’s a lot of driving, takes a lot of toll on your horses and stuff. You’ve got to let them out all the time, drink,” he said. “And my brother drives a lot for me, I just started driving, got my permit, but it ain’t bad on the way. And if you win, it’s even better on the way home.”
Bodie Hine noted his aforementioned sibling, who competed as a header for Central Arizona College and later attended New Mexico State University, deserves much credit for his progression in the sport.
“I get to rope with my brother every day, practice with him every day, he’s a high-level roper too and he helps me,” said Bode.
“(Chance) knows what he’s talking about, so if I’m doing something wrong, he helps me out. That’s probably the main deal why I’m where I’m at.”
And when it comes to Bodie hitting the books, at home or on the road, Chance seems to leave little to chance.
“It’s such an expensive deal; you can’t afford to mess up,” said Bodie. “Sometimes I think he’s stricter than my parents.”
At last summer’s NJHFR in Huron, South Dakota, Hine and Quincy Sullivan of Peralta, New Mexico, combined to place 31st in the average. He also finished 30th.