Brady Roberts was two-years-old standing in his living room in pull-ups and a tee shirt, watching TV with his dad, Dale Roberts, who was flipping through the channels. Brady suddenly thrust out his hand and hollered, "Stop!" "Back up," the little guy said. A couple of channels back, Dale came to the Professional Bull Rider's (PBR) channel. "There," said Brady and he focused on the activities. As they sat watching men trying to stay on the back of bad Brahma bulls, young Brady was mesmerized. Soon he was holding one hand up high in the air and spinning around in a circle imitating the bull riders on TV who have to keep one hand free from touching the bull or they will be disqualified.
This was no passing fancy with young Brady. Eight seconds is the amount of time a rider must stay on the bull to receive a score. His mom said he learned to count to eight on the back of a bull. When he was four he was helping his dad dig in the yard and he said, "Hey, this is my rodeo dirt."
He started rodeoing at the ripe old age of seven. He didn't start by riding sheep like many youngsters do, he started riding calves, sometimes big calves. He graduated to steers and at age 12 and was fourth in the world in steer riding at a Rodeo in Will Rogers Arena in Fort Worth, attended by top youths from Mexico, Canada, Brazil and the USA. He moved up to young bulls by age 13 and to full fledged bulls at 15. These bulls weigh between 1,200 and 2,200 pounds. Pounds of muscle and power.
Brady was a premature baby and was born in Lubbock although his folks lived in Seminole. The doctors didn't hold out much hope for him because of his mother's diabetes. They gave him only a small chance of growing up normal. He bucked those odds and keeps on bucking.
His parents are Dale and Carmon Roberts. Dale was born in Lamesa, the son of Lee and Barbara (Caffey) Roberts, both former residents of Seminole and who went to school here. Lee retired from the Railroad Commission after many years. He now works for McClure Oil Company out of Midland but they live in Lubbock. Barbara was a school teacher. She has retired, and now spends a lot of time playing tennis.
They lived in Hobbs, New Mexico until Dale's junior year in high school when they moved to back Seminole where he graduated in1987. He played football and tennis in high school. He attended college at NMJC, South Plains College, and Texas Tech University. He said, "I squeezed four years of education into seven." He got a teaching degree but never used it. Dale now farms and is co-owner of Silver Star Crop Insurance company.
Carmon was born in Killeen, Her parents are Tommy and Connie Carroll. Her dad retired from SPS, (Excel Energy). Connie was a stay at home mom. They live in Seminole.
Carmon graduated from Seminole in 1988 and then from Texas Tech in 1991, She said, "I was in a hurry to get married.", She taught second grade in Seminole for 17 years before failing health caused by diabetes caused her to have to retire. She says her dad is an amazing grandfather. He deeply loved both their children.
Dale and Carmon had two children, Brady first, and then ten years later, Shelbee. Shelbee was a precious, sweet little girl who unfortunately fell victim to cancer and passed away August 18, 2012 after an extended illness. Shelbee was seven years old. She, also, aspired to be in the rodeos. She was already doing barrel racing and pole bending before her illness.
Shelbee was instrumental in extending Brady's career in bull riding. Understandably, as a mother with one gravely ill child and the other one engaged in such a dangerous sport Carmon didn't think she could take any more.
While sitting on the couch with Shelbee lying beside her apparently asleep, Carmon was contemplating the dangers of Brady's bull riding, she said she wanted him to quit it. At this moment, Shelbee raised up and said to her mother, "Momma, you let Brady bull ride, it is what he always wanted to do." She was thrilled watching him and wanted them to know it. She then lay back down and continued her sleeping.
Of course Carmon relented and allowed him to continue, but says she spends much time in prayers for him while he rides. Dale says because of Brady's rodeos the family spends all of their weekends together and it has made them a close family.
Some of Brady's accomplishments include, in 2013, From Texas Youth Bull Riders - 1.) West Region Champion; 2.) State Finals Champion; 3.) State Champion; 4.) High Money Earner.
From Texas High School Rodeo Assn. - 1.) State Finals-short-go-qualifier.
From YBR World Finals - 1.)Round Winner; 2. Short-Go Qualifier.
From Texas Cowboy Rodeo Assn. - 1.) Finals Reserve Champion; 2.) Year-End Reserve Champion.
And from 2014, PRCA Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (Professional) - 1.) Round 1 winner; 2.) Seventh in Average.
Brady said he has tried bronc riding but he likes bull riding best. He wears a protective vest as well as a helmet with a face mask for protection.
When asked if he had ever had any serious injuries he said, "I have had two broken legs and a few concussions and have torn a knee (an MCL)." At the time of the interview he was hobbling on crutches because of a bruised ankle which had been stepped on by the last bull he mounted in Sweetwater. There were no broken bones so he said he would be okay about in a week. He explained, "Me and the bull just wanted to step in the same place." Three days later he had discarded his crutches and was walking without a limp. He got a call from the people in San Angelo inviting him to ride a bull in the rodeo on Saturday February 22 and he accepted. His dad said, "We'll just wrap the ankle up good and tight and head down there."
He will also be riding one bull each in Glen Rose on Friday February 28, and in Bay City on Saturday March 1st.
Brady went professional as a bull rider in January 2014. His first professional rodeo was in Odessa where he drew a NFR (National Federation of Rodeos) bull.. He failed to score. These bulls are the biggest and toughest there are.
His second show was at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo which lasted from January 23 through February 8. Their were 28 performances with 12 to 14 contestants at each performance, approximately 168 rides. Brady won the first round with a score of 86 and finished seventh over all in this large field of contestants. He was riding against guys whose autograph he has gotten as a kid and whose pictures he has on his bedroom walls. One of these was J.W Harris the PRCA World Champion who came in second in this rodeo.
Brady's was an awesome performance for a young man who is still in his teens and who just turned pro. His mom said he came very close to scoring on one of his other two bulls at this rodeo.
Brady is a senior at Seminole High School. He is on the National Honor Society and the student council. He will graduate this May, and has a rodeo scholarship from Odessa College. He plans to make bull riding his career.
Like most bull riders Brady deeply appreciates the men they call "bullfighters." These are the guys who used to be called rodeo clowns, but their function was never primarily making people laugh. Their job is to protect the rider from the bulls when the ride is over. If the rider is thrown off or dismounts after a successful ride he is still in danger of being attacked by the bull. The bullfighter diverts the bull's attention from the rider and onto themselves to keep the rider from being gored or trampled. These guys wear baggy, bright colored clothing to distract the bull. They are ready to throw themselves into harms way to protect the rider, especially one who has been injured or in trouble. Brady said rodeos now have three men who are bullfighters, and one who is a clown, called the barrel man, in the arena during a bull ride..
Many if not most of the bull riders can tell of times when the bull fighters have come to the rescue and saved their lives or saved them from serious injury.
Brady told of a time at the YBR finals in Fort Worth when his hand got hung up in the rope on a big red bull. All three of the bullfighters came to his aid to get his hand untangled. It took them a long time to get him loose. He was dragged around the arena for 30 or 40 seconds strapped to a mad bucking bull by one arm. He said, "It was scary!"
Needless to say, Brady has made good friends with some of these guys. Two he mentioned were Chuck Swisher and Dusty Tuchness. The Roberts are also good friends with Kenneth Casbeer from Andrews who serves as a bullfighter for youth shows (TYS), and works amateur and high school rodeos.
The rodeo people are close knit, like family. Carmon said, "Our rodeo family blessed us greatly during the loss of Shelbee, as did our church family." The Roberts are members of the First Baptist Church.
Once Brady's bullfighters had an unexpected assistant. Brady had been thrown by a particularly large bull, He was on his knees in the arena when the bull decided to take vengeance on him. The bullfighters were coming but not fast enough for Carmon. As the bull lowered his head and charged her son, she jumped on the top of the fence screaming, "Get away!" "Get away!" The people around her thought she was going over into the arena. They grabbed her to hold her back. She screamed so loud the bull turned his head to see where the noise was coming from, and in so doing was distracted until the bullfighters arrived. Brady got away uninjured. He turned and yelled, "Thanks, Mom!"
Carmon told of taking a video of Brady riding a calf for his first grade teacher, Mrs. Danley, to see. During the showing a friend asked, "Who was screaming "Get him!" "Get him!" Carmon had to admit it was her.