A team roping partnership is a lot like a marriage, and there are times when you spend more time with your partner than your family. You need to be compatible with your partner, and most importantly inside the arena. It’s nice to be good friends, too, but you can rope with someone you don’t particularly want to hang out with, if you can win together. I’ve been fortunate enough to rope with the best—Clay (O’Brien Cooper), Leo (Camarillo), Allen (Bach), Walt (Woodard) and several more. You don’t always know on paper how a partnership will go. Speed Williams and Clay, as one example, were a great team on paper. But they didn’t win as much as they would have wanted to, for whatever reason. Clay and I had a lot of good success together, and the foundation of our team was work ethic. There are a lot of reasons teams quit roping together, be it lack of horsepower on either side, one guy not holding up his end on taking care of business or whatever. It’s a funny phenomenon that so often happens that as soon as a team decides to call it quits they really go to winning. It seems like that happens because the pressure’s off of the one who was struggling. I like having things in common with my partner, like similar values, but it doesn’t matter who you rope with—if you’re not paying the bills there’s going to be tension and, eventually, a change. I think roping styles have a big part in picking a partner. Your styles need to complement each other and fit. It’s like dating. You need to date someone to find out what they’re really like. In roping, you need to see how it goes at the ropings and the rodeos. In the end, you’ll judge your roping relationship on your team’s success.