In the course of their daily work, American cowboys developed a multiplicity of lasso techniques to catch animals of different speeds and sizes; they also invented tricks for entertainment during downtimes. Texan Brice Chapman is one of the finest trick ropers alive today. He comes to the National with his 11-year-old daughter Grace, a skilled roper herself, and their working menagerie: trick horses Peanut and Riptide, Sam the rabbit, a flock of ducks to herd, and majestic Percheron draft horses Jewel and Jazzy pulling a wooden-wheeled, 1923 wagon.
Brice Chapman’s father, Burney, was inducted into the Kentucky Derby Hall of Fame for his work shoeing horses; Brice has followed in those footsteps, becoming a sought-after farrier himself. But it’s his talent with a lasso for which he’s most famous. Chapman began teaching himself roping at age five, and by seven he was putting on shows at the National Ranching Heritage Center. He has spent years mastering the classic roping tricks and developing hundreds new ones of his own, incorporating his animal sidekicks into the act. Following in the great tradition of cowboy ingenuity, he says, “I just try to invent new things to keep my job fun.”