Team roping. Headin and heelin. No matter what you call it, it is the fastest growing rodeo sport. Justin Lovell stays up with the best. " We were in California for the last two weeks, got home Sunday. You're not home much, just a little bit, but you're gone a lot," said the the Grapeland cowboy.
The SFA grad is a header. He's in the top 50 of the PRCA standings and 12th on the U.S. Team Roping standings. Like a lot of kids, Justin got started early. The quiet spoken guy said, "My family has done it for years. Probably 3 or four years ago I realized that I actually have a chance to do good. That's what I wanted to do."
Justin's partner is Cole Bigbee of Stephensville. The two men can rope with anybody at anytime, but they say they'll stick together as long as they're winning. " Bigbee said, " A lot of teams they swap up guys a lot thinking it will change their luck. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't and I think it's better to ride it out and just let the good luck come."
Together the team has their sites on Las Vegas, the Super Bowl of rodeos. Justin is relying on his big black horse, JoJo to get him there. " He doesn't have very many tricks. Running fast is about all he does," said Justin as he warmed up for competition.
In Lufkin at the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo the team was fast, but a lost loop on the heels resulted in a penalty. Part of the gamble of rodeoing. Bigbee said, " You can make money, but you can lose it too. It's controlled gambling pretty much."