Successful team roper Dusty Watkins is known for his love of the Paint Horse breed. From ranching to professional rodeo, Dusty has a lifetime of valuable experience he shares with others through his training, roping clinics and lessons. He has many accomplishments to his name including being the fast time winner at the 1992 Bob Feist Invitational, an event that attracts the best-of-the-best in roping. Today, Dusty continues his passion for roping while operating a ranch in Oklahoma.
Daughter: Nikki Jo
Horse Training and Sales
Team Roping and Horsemanship Clinics
When did you get involved with horses?
I got my first horse, Charlie, at age 11 from Ed Watkins, my uncle.
Who has been your main influence in the horse world?
My cousin Denny Watkins has been my biggest influence.
Favorite Weaver Leather products
AirFlex® Cinch - It’s comfortable, durable and easy to clean and has never galled a horse even throughout hot training days.
Contoured EVA Sport Foam Saddle Pad with Felt - This pad is very comfortable for the horse as well as supportive for the saddle.
eZall® Products- It’s fast, easy and simple to use plus it does a great job!
What was your favorite horse you’ve ever owner or trained and why?
Zig, a big black and white Paint gelding is my best horse. I purchased Zig as a green broke 4-year-old with intentions to train and re-sell him because he was so pretty. I was making a video for a buyer, Monte Montana, a world renowned trick roper, who always rode a black and white paint when Zig sucked back out from underneath me and shot me to the ground. When I caught my air, I looked up a Sherrie and said “edit!!!”If this horse can move out from underneath me that fast, then what can he do on a cow? I called Monte and told him I ain’t selling him, I’m keeping him. Zig is the reason I have made a living in the horse industry. He put me on the cover of Paint Horse Journal. Zig is 29-years-old and I still own him today.
Greatest training accomplishment
I spotted Double Shot Peppy aka Starlight at an auction in Texas. At first glance, I thought he was too small at age four. I went back and took a second look at him. He had such a good disposition and kind eye that I went ahead and took a chance that he would grow. I bought him right there in the alley before he went into the sale ring. He sold quickly to one of my customers after we got home. I retained the training on him for 11 months and soon realized that I had made a mistake. I tried to buy him back, but he wasn’t for sale. About 1-1/2 years later, I got a call and my customer offered Starlight back due to the recession. The recession hit us too so I told him I didn’t have the money. He said, “I don’t care, Dusty. I know you want him and I want you to have him. Take a year to pay me.” I drove five hours to get him and he was back in my barn the next day. I started hauling and seasoning him. As a trainer, Starlight is one of my greatest accomplishments. I mounted “Wranglers” Robert Lever on him at the Reno Invitational where he won the roping and earned $100,000. Starlight was awarded a bronze trophy statue by the AQHA for being the highest money heel horse by earning $100,000 in a day.
What is your favorite show or event to attend?
The Bob Feist Invitational is my favorite. I’ve been there 26 times!
What activities do you enjoy outside of horses?
Simply going out to dinner after a hard day’s work!
Have you ever been bucked off?
A lot! It comes with the job! Last time I was bucked off, I was helping a friend find his horse that escaped at 11:00 at night in the Oklahoma darkness. I learned a valuable lesson. Do not text and ride!
Do you have an embarrassing moment involving horses?
I was going to the PRCA Brawley rodeo with my stud horse Rae Rae that didn’t have much of a tail. My wife talked me into taking a fake tail that I put on after we got to the rodeo. Rae Rae looked real good! My partner and I roped our steer in front of 3,000 people. We needed this win to ensure a spot at the PRCA circuit finals. We roped the steer and I’m making my horse back up to get a flag and I suddenly notice my partner is just looking at me. He pointed to the ground about 10 feet in front of me and there was my horse’s tail and you could have heard a pin drop. The crowd thought I tore my horse’s tail off! I had to get off my horse and pick up my tail! As I did, Rae Rae spooked and dragged me about 50 feet across the arena. My cousin, Denny, was up next and had to tell his partner and all my peers to “Wait! Dusty’s out there chasing his tail!”
What is your favorite place to ride?
My father-in-law’s cattle ranch in Ardmore, Oklahoma.