Putnam County resident David Winings left Thursday morning for Casper, Wyo., where he will be recognized as being one of the top four bull riders in the nation at the National Collegiate Rodeo Association.
Those being honored this year include winners from 1969, 1979, 1989 and 1999. He placed third in 1989 and was named Rookie of the Year.
He quit riding bulls four years ago and began concentrating on his roping skills.
"We never really had a honeymoon because of taking care of the horses," smiled Winings. "This will kind of be a honeymoon for us."
On July 4, he and several other saddle ropers will demonstrate their skill at Winings' Diamond W Ranch located just west of Roachdale on S. R. 236.
Beginning at 1 p.m., 30 riders will pair up as headers and heelers and participate in a cattle-roping competition.
The winning team will receive specially made saddles from New Mexico as prizes. The saddles will be on display prior to the roping event at Tri-County Bank, Roachdale. There is also a cash prize.
Winings is opening the competition to local spectators who are attending Roachdale SummerFest 2009 on July 3 and 4.
The competition is free and persons interested in watching these saddle ropers compete should bring a chair and be prepared to be entertained for several hours.
Winings is a native of the Roachdale area and a graduate of North Putnam High School. He began competing at rodeos while still in high school.
"I rode high school rodeo. I grew up around it. I always rode horses. My dad competed at some local rodeos and my older brother Gene competed during high school," explained Winings.
"After high school, I went on to compete in the pros and did pretty well. I've had a pretty good career. Mainly in livestock -- riding bulls. Now, it's roping," said Winings. "Riding is really a young man's game. Now that I am on rope horses, I can do this from now on."
The main objective at the Diamond W Ranch is to train kids and livestock for rodeo competition.
Training horses can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the animal.
"People bring the horse to our ranch and we keep them until they are trained. We have six horses of our own. Five are roping horses and the sixth one has been too young to train," explained Winings.
"When they take the horse home, it is ready to win money," he added.
He recently trained three kids from Pittsboro for bull riding. Winings believes they have a good shot at placing well in state competition.
"We've had several champions out of our group," he noted. "
The July 4 competition is a saddle-roping event. This requires teams of two riders. One ropes the head of the steer or bull and the other then ropes his hind feet.
The competition is a round robin. Whoever catches goes to the next round. At the end of the third round the fastest time wins.
"It's fun to do this. We have teens roping who are still in high school. The youngest one is 15 or 16 years old. The oldest competitor is in his 60s. People will have fun watching this," said Winings.
His ranch is also sponsoring a round robin team roping series. The next session will be July 26 and another on Aug. 23. Reservations for spots are required. There is a $125 entry fee with a payback of three places.
The Diamond W Ranch is located at 1197 E. St. Rd. 236 just west of Roachdale. For information call 522-5115.