JAKE AND CLAY RE­MEM­BER RICKEY

The team rop­ing world re­cently lost a very spe­cial friend and fam­ily mem­ber in Rickey Green. Rickey was es­pe­cially close to our own Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper, so we de­cided to share a few of their fa­vorite mem­o­ries.

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Ropers - By Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper with Ken­dra San­tos

-AKE ON RICKEY

Rickey Green was the most unique per­son that I’ve ever met in my life, and I wish I had some of Rickey in me. I’ve al­ways been known for be­ing so in­tense. Rickey was the ex­act op­po­site. I’m not say­ing Rickey didn’t have a care in the world, but his goal was to al­ways make you laugh and find hu­mor in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. He had a new joke ev­ery time you saw him.

Rickey had the neat­est per­son­al­ity. He was al­ways the life of the party. He was just a funny guy, and I never did see him have a bad day. A lot of sto­ries get big­ger over the years, but you don’t have to ex­ag­ger­ate when you tell a Rickey story. One of my fa­vorites was from one time when Rickey was rop­ing with Bob McClel­land, and they were at an IPRA (In­ter­na­tional Pro­fes­sional Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion) rodeo back East.

They had a spe­cial event called Money the Hard Way. It was kind of like a calf scram­ble for adults, and it was open to the pub­lic. They turned a bull loose in the arena, and who­ever got the string off of the bull’s horns won $100. Ev­ery­body was scared of the bull, es­pe­cially when he’d charge at ’em. Not Rickey. That bull got Rickey down, and mauled him so bad that he got thrown un­der the fence. Rickey jumped up on the other side of the fence, cov­ered in bull slob­ber, and held that string up as proud as a mata­dor that just won a big bull­fight. The crowd roared, and Rickey got his hun­dred bucks. Then he went to the hos­pi­tal to get his bro­ken ribs taken care of.

When I was rodeo­ing with Allen (Bach), we trav­eled with Rickey and Julio (Moreno). It was like hav­ing your own stand-up co­me­dian in the rig. We all be­came great friends. When I got in­ducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Rickey’s the guy I asked to in­tro­duce me. That’s like choos­ing your best man.

My goal was to win seven world cham­pi­onships, be­cause I wanted to give all my fam­ily mem­bers a gold buckle. Rickey’s goal was to be known as the fastest heeler. They put the cross­fire rule in be­cause of Rickey Green, so Rickey ac­com­plished his goal, too.

CLAY ON RICKEY

Rickey was a very unique char­ac­ter. His aim in life was to make you laugh and feel good, and he saw ev­ery­thing through the lens of hu­mor. Rickey and I would go back and forth all the time, try­ing to outdo each other on ev­ery topic. He would usu­ally win, and my stom­ach mus­cles would be spas­ming be­cause I’d laughed so hard.

There used to be a re­ally good rop­ing at the coli­seum in Phoenix in the win­ter­time, and we were there one day dur­ing the time when Jake and I were win­ning cham­pi­onships, and were con­sid­ered the big dogs. I came around the cor­ner, got out of whack, and didn’t even hit the steer. My loop hit the ground so hard, and it didn’t even come close. A split sec­ond later, I hear a horse com­ing up be­hind me 100 miles an hour, and it’s Rickey. He stops his horse, takes a cou­ple swings, and slams his loop right down there next to mine. I’m look­ing at him like, “what are you do­ing?” And he looks at me and says, “I didn’t want yours to be the only ter­ri­ble shot ev­ery­body saw to­day.” That was Rickey—not afraid to hu­mor you out of any sit­u­a­tion.

We all stopped what we were do­ing to watch Rickey rope, and he mas­tered rop­ing steers run­ning down the arena. It didn’t take very long for them to out­law cross­fir­ing, and that was be­cause of Rickey. All he cared about in the arena was heel­ing steers as fast as was hu­manly pos­si­ble. Out­side the arena, it was all about be­ing good to peo­ple, and mak­ing us laugh. Rickey Green lived his life very well.

“ALL HE CARED ABOUT IN THE ARENA WAS HEEL­ING STEERS AS FAST AS WAS HU­MANLY POS­SI­BLE. OUT­SIDE THE ARENAI IT WAS ALL ABOUT BE­ING GOOD TO PEO­PLE AND MAK­ING US LAUGH.” —CLAY O’BRIEN COOPER

COW­BOY COM­RADES RICKEY GREEN AND CLAY O’BRIEN COOPER TALK­ING SHOP AT A RODEO IN 1986.

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