Roy Cooper: A Little Kid From New Mexico Turned Resistol Rookie of the Year in 1976


Roy Cooper is an eight-time World Champion Tie-Down Roper who earned the nickname, Super Looper, along with those titles as he went down in history. His career began in 1976 when he won the Resistol Rookie of the Year title.

Cooper’s first rodeo as a professional was Kansas City, where he missed both of his calves. He went on to Chicago, the following weekend and missed again.

“I went to a payphone and called my mother and said ‘man, I can’t event catch a cold, I’ve done missed three in row,’’ he said.

It was at his third rodeo where Cooper stopped the clock at 7 seconds with a 9.0-second run coming in second. He took that momentum and ran. His first big pay day came at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for $4,300. From there, it was Jackson, San Antonio and Houston, where Cooper’s memory takes him back to seeing Elvis.

“I’m just a little kid from New Mexico, hadn’t even been around. I’m seeing all these big cities, big towns, everything is new, everything’s fun. You know, I was actually still in college, college was my first thing I had to do, I rodeoed when I could,” Cooper said.

After being a part of one of college rodeo’s most successful teams and earning a college national title, it would be World Champion Ernie Taylor’s rig that Cooper would end up in and where he would learn the ropes of professional rodeo.

“You’ve got to have somebody in your corner that brags on you, helps you, supports you and gives you confidence and tells you how good you are even when you’re not,” Cooper said.

In his rookie year, Cooper went on to win the World Title and the National Finals Rodeo Average all while learning how to work with ProCom, as it was introduced in 1976 as well. If you ask him, it didn’t set in until Christmas that he was a World Champion.

“The rookies a big deal, it’s a big thing. I didn’t realize how big it was until later then you look at the rookie of the year champions that have won it like Phil Lyne, Robert Blandford, look at them guys that won it, the great ones. The great ones went on to be World Champions,” Cooper said.

Aside from the support system that kept him going that comprised of his mother and Taylor, Cooper also had top notch horsepower, another vital aspect to being great that came through is dad. In his career, Cooper says he looks back and it is clear that he had four or five great horses.

“There’s only one rookie, so it’s do or die your very first year,” Cooper said.