“There’s a lot more to picking up broncs than the rodeo. We start early in the morning feeding the stock, sorting them up, and hauling them in and out. The picking up part is just the reward for the hard work you’ve done all day.”
Shandon Stalls, from McLean, Texas, has served as a pickup man for Beutler and Son Rodeo Co. for slightly more than 15 years. Burned out on constant travel after chasing a steer roping finals qualification, he now only works about a dozen rodeos a year. The rest of the time, he’s at the family ranch, looking after cattle. “I went to New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs) on a rodeo scholarship,” he says. “When I got there, there was nobody to pick up, so I just learned. I’d go to the college rodeos and compete in the timed events and pick up the roughstock. I’ve always admired what the pickup men did. It’s a lot of dang fun if you have a good helper and good horses.”
Joe Matkin from Boerne, Texas, made that saddle for me in trade for riding a couple of horses for him. It’s got a 14 ½-inch seat—that’s just what fits me the best. That saddle is actually built to tie steers, with a lower cantle.
LIVING QUARTERS TRAILER
As much as I’m away, I want something comfortable for the whole family. I can haul five horses in the trailer, and it has a 21-foot living quarters with 12-foot slide-out.
If you’re in the right spot, you won’t get kicked. But I like to wear these kickpads around my lower leg because when you’re picking up saddle broncs, and have them snubbed up, the swells or the cantle of that saddle can rub your leg. The kickpads are really just protection from the saddle.
That breast collar keeps my saddle from sliding back if I have to rope a bull … and it’s a little extra advertising space.
I use Pro Orthopedics for my horse’s splint boots and saddle pads. They’re real well-built and made right in Tucson. They last a long time. If those splint boots get dirty, I just throw them in the washing machine and they’re good to go.
They provide extra protection against the bucking horses and their saddles. Those were brand new. They have a thin layer of padding between the leather, and they weigh probably 25 pounds. They stay down, don’t flop up in the wind, and protect my leg.
Gordy Alderson built nearly every bit I have. I probably have 25 of them. I don’t know what you call that mouthpiece, but it’s really more for show with the pistol shanks. He also made the buckles on my spurs and my back cinch.
I get all my ropes from King Ropes.