Eight seconds that is. That’s all it takes for Houston Hutto to lasso Rodeo glory.
Houston Hutto, 31, leans back in a chair at Rebels Honky Tonk on Washington, a musing grin on his square-jawed face. A flat-brimmed cap is tipped back on his head, his faded green hoodie conceals most of his 6-foot-1 frame. At the right angle, you can see a glint from his waistband—an oversized champion buckle from the 2012 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the largest prize-money rodeo in the world—that hints that Hutto is something of a rodeo rock star, and is set to take the arena at the 2013 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo starting at the end of the month.
Hutto is a calf-roper, a blue-eyed auburn-topped Texan with a relaxed and syrupy-sweet Texas drawl. His off-duty manner contrasts the expertly executed, flash-quick performances he gives from his horse and then from bended knee after he flips a scrambling calf on its side and binds its legs in less than eight seconds. “Having a good horse,” he says, “that is the main key. You don’t wanna ride one that’s not seasoned.”
The grandson and son of rodeo ropers, Hutto grew up in Del Rio, 140 miles west of San Antonio, on a ranch where he learned to lasso goats. “Most kids played with toys and stuff, I played with a rope.” He rodeo’d through high school and got a scholarship to rodeo at Western Texas College in Snyder for two years before he turned pro.
Now the newlywed father of a baby girl is at the top of the rodeo world. With endorsements for everything from his clothes to his horses, and having won the top prize for roping at the Houston Rodeo in ’03 and ’07, and at the Austin Rodeo in ’11, many have taken notice—including the ladies. “They’re called buckle bunnies,” he says matter-of-factly. “And there’re some that travel around just like we do.” Even rodeo rock stars have groupies.
The Houston Texans, golf, family, crawfish at Ragin’ Cajun, competitiveness (“I don’t like gettin’ beat, even at Skip-Bo”)
traffic, kicking calves, whiners