Oklahoma State senior Thompson Berryhill is a roping champion, and it's easy to see why.
The 4.0 student and Talala native will compete for a national rodeo championship next week in team roping. Thompson is a header, meaning he's the one who ropes the front of a steer.
For him, it's a labor of love. “I rope four, five times a week and rope the dummy about 60 times, 70 times a day," he said.
The anticipation before he goes triggers many feelings. "First I'm anxious, but after I hit the back of the box and it's time to go everything just kind of goes away and I focus on what I need to do,” said Thompson.
He also has to take the weather into account before his runs, for example, the wind and how it could possibly affect his time. “Got to discuss what you want to do with your healer, your partner… You take into account all those variables."
Thompson began showing interest in roping at a young age. "As I was roping and training and going to horse shows and roping jackpots and things like that, he just started getting interested, but [he] was real shy about it so I kind of just threw him in the water and said learn to swim,” elaborated Thompson's father Leonard.
Once he got to OSU he turned up his work ethic, making roping look simple.
Currently, Thompson's roped steers in a 3.5; the world record is a 3.3, so there's a lot of money to make in this and he hopes he can get there one day. "It's awesome. I represent myself, my family and my school, so every step I take I try to keep myself lined up,” he explained. “I just want to keep going forward with what I got going on here."