OTHER GIG

When asked what he does, Bobby Roberts has come to ask a ques­tion in re­turn: Got a few min­utes?

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Departments - Bobby Roberts

A na­tive of Visalia, Cal­i­for­nia, 30-year-old Bobby Roberts ended his 12-year PBR bull rid­ing ca­reer in 2016. He’s also a horse shoer, a hus­band, a day worker, a well dig­ger, a header, a heeler, and a stunt­man.

Cow­boys have a long his­tory in the stunt in­dus­try, and grow­ing up a hand­ful of hours from L.A. doesn’t hurt. Nei­ther does hav­ing friends who can help you get your foot in the door.

“My best friend, Dy­lan Hice, and his cousin, Derek La­casa, are both bull rid­ers and stunt­men,” Roberts said. “In 2008, Derek called me and asked if I would be will­ing to work on a com­mer­cial and, since be­ing a bull rider and shoe­ing horses doesn’t of­fer real con­sis­tent work, I said sure.”

The day was a 12-hour stint that be­gan at 5:00 in the evening and wrapped up at 5:00 the next morn­ing.

“Through­out the night, all I did was sit on a bull in the buck­ing chutes, ready to go when they said go,” Roberts re­called. “When I got a check in the mail for $2,000, Derek asked me if I was happy with that. When I said I was, he laughed.”

The vet­eran stunt­man knew what kind of wind­fall was headed Roberts way, though it would ar­rive piece­meal over the course of a few months. Ul­ti­mately, those 12 te­dious hours net­ted around $16,000 for Roberts. Not bad for a day’s work.

Hav­ing made well over the req­ui­site $3,500, Roberts was in­vited to pur­chase his Screen Ac­tors Guild card, mak­ing him el­i­gi­ble for any fu­ture work that might come his way. Like the bull rid­ing and the horse shoe­ing, the need for bull-rid­ing stunt­men isn’t ter­ri­bly re­li­able—it would be an­other two or so years be­fore an­other stunt op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self—but Roberts en­joys the work … though he’d be happy to pass on the au­di­tions.

“I’ve been to a cou­ple, and it’s not some­thing I’d re­ally rec­om­mend to any­one,” Roberts started. “You just go in a room with five peo­ple star­ing at you with a cam­era, and you have to act out what­ever they ask you to do and just make be­lieve.

“I feel like a com­plete id­iot do­ing it. One time, three of us stunt­men drove to L.A. for an au­di­tion and, when we left there, not one of us thought we had a chance at get­ting the job.”

Turns out, Roberts and one of the guys did get a call to come back. And af­ter that au­di­tion, it was Roberts who eked out the gig.

He’s spent the last few years get­ting to ride bulls from time to time, un­til more re­cently, when Hice, who was work­ing on the set of “12 Strong,” called Roberts with a tip about a tele­vi­sion show that needed some­one who could ride a buck­ing horse.

“I high school rodeoed,” Roberts said, “and grow­ing up ranch­ing, I was al­ways rid­ing colts and bad horses that bucked a lot. It was kind of lucky, but also not so lucky, be­cause I would al­ways have horses given to me be­cause they’d buck. So be­tween the bulls and the horses, it got to where I could ride just about any­thing.”

Which isn’t to say that it all comes easy

for Roberts. In ad­di­tion to his rop­ing arena, Roberts also has a buck­ing arena where he can prac­tice rid­ing rough­stock, his saddle falls (falls that don’t in­volve the horse), and lay­ing his horses down.

“You don’t just show up and fall off,” Roberts elu­ci­dated. “You need to prac­tice it like any other thing.”

It’s a work ethic that has car­ried over from Roberts’ PBR ca­reer and into his team rop­ing en­deav­ors.

“I try to rope at least three days a week if I can,” said the Cac­tus-spon­sored 6-header, 7-heeler. “I’m real lucky that 7-time NFR heeler Kyle Lock­ett lives right down the road from me. I’ll rope at his place and he’ll come to mine. He’s even helped me when I was rid­ing bulls—pulls my rope, opens the gates, and even fights bulls at times when he needs to.”

Roberts cred­its Lock­ett; two-time NFR header Spencer Mitchell; and his wife, Jamie, who has had sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess in the reined cowhorse arena; with sup­ply­ing him the great horses that have al­lowed him his own suc­cess in the arena. He also has heeler Mar­cus Battaglia to thank for a shared $10,400 check at the 2013 World Se­ries of Team Rop­ing Fi­nale, where the pair fin­ished 23rd in the #13, with 35.21 on four head.

“That was re­ally the first big rop­ing I’d ever gone to,” said Roberts, who also en­ters up at rodeos across the coun­try and will be rop­ing in the #13 again come De­cem­ber, this time heel­ing for Sean Pas­coe, with whom he won the Porter­ville Qual­i­fier, catch­ing four in 31.24 sec­onds.

Hav­ing the 2013 ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, Roberts has a good idea now of what the Fi­nale en­tails, and what kind of prepa- ra­tion is go­ing to be re­quired.

“One big goal I had was to rope at the BFI, and I fi­nally got to do that this year,” Roberts said. “So I guess my next big goal is to win the Fi­nale. I’ve got a great part­ner and he lives pretty close to me, so we’re go­ing to put our heads down and do some se­ri­ous prac­tic­ing be­fore we go. I like to do that so, if any­thing out of the or­di­nary were to show up, we’ll have a de­fault mode that we can fall into and rely on that game plan.”

In the mean­time, work has been pick­ing up with the water well dig­ging (an­other handy skill to have in Cal­i­for­nia) and that tele­vi­sion show that needed a buck­ing horse rider is film­ing its sec­ond sea­son and has turned into a pretty nice op­por­tu­nity for Roberts. So nice, in fact, that he’s not at lib­erty to dis­cuss it. But if you hap­pen to be flip­ping down the dial and catch a real ranchy scene, it might just be the work of that horse-shoer/ day- worker/ bull- rider/ well- dig­ger/ team-roper/stunt-dou­ble guy you read about in The Team Rop­ing Jour­nal.

You dont just show up and fall off. you need to prac­tice it like any other thing. <RX — BOBBY ROBERTS

{ Vi­tal Stats } NAME: Bobby Roberts AGE: 30 NUM­BER / END: 6 Head / 7 Heel ROPE: Cac­tus TNT and C4 HOME: Visalia, Cal­i­for­nia

BE­FORE CON­CEN­TRAT­ING ON HIS TEAM ROP­ING, ROBERTS WAS A PRO­FES­SIONAL BULL RIDER FOR 12 YEARS AND WON 47 BUCK­LES. HE STILL GETS TO RIDE, AND MAKES A DE­CENT CHECK DO­ING IT AS A PRO­FES­SIONAL STUNT­MAN.

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