At nine years old, Tim Pope already had big dreams. He explained, “I won $3 in a Buckin’ Ponies contest. I knew then that I wanted to do rodeo for the rest of my life because I loved it so much.”
As a high school student in his hometown of New Albany, Indiana, Tim stuck to this dream. He joined the Rodeo Association and qualified for the national finals all four years of school. After high school, Tim became a professional rodeo clown for 20 years. He traveled across the country fighting bulls and clowning.
However, when his daughter Mattie was born, Tim knew he had to settle down. “I couldn’t keep moving all over the country,” he said. “I had worked part time for a guest ranch in Colorado and really liked it.” His work reminded him of summers in high school, when he traveled to Wyoming to work on a ranch.
One day, his wife, Lynn, called him. Tim recalled, “She said, ‘Tim, your dream job just posted on the internet.’ I did an interview on the phone then in person, and that’s how I ended up at the A Bar A.”
As one of the maintenance directors at the ranch, Tim maintains the buildings, grounds, and vehicles, fixes anything that breaks, feeds the horse herd during the winter, and keeps the road open. The latter is especially important during the winters, when temperatures can drop to -40. However, Tim isn’t phased by the harsh conditions. “It’s not all that bad in the winter,” he explained. “We get 45 days of sunshine and no humidity.” However, the snow can get pretty tough to navigate. “One time we were snowed in for four days straight, and couldn’t actually leave at all,” he said. “We go to Walmart once a month to stock up on food, and the winters are normally pretty easy.”
Though Tim has left his professional rodeo days behind, he volunteers at the Saratoga Rodeo, which is about 45 minutes from A Bar A. His role as a clown involves entertaining the crowd, keeping the rodeo moving, and backing up bullfighters. While rodeoing has always been his passion, Tim also enjoys skiing and playing golf. His favorite part about working at A Bar A, he said, “is being in Wyoming. Just seeing this landscape everyday.” From rodeoing to working on a guest ranch, Tim has continued to chase his dreams.
By Cassidy Duckett