By Robert Medley
A Piedmont area cowboy is roping his way into the rodeo world with winnings across the country these days.
Andrew Ward went to the National Final Rodeo at Arlington, Texas, in the new stadium, at the end of last year.
Ward, 30, placed fifth in team-roping, Dec. 12 at the rodeo, he carries the title now as fifth best in the world at team-roping, he said.
Ward has long ties to Piedmont and grew up competing in Canadian County and in Mustang. His grandfather, Virgil Ward, was Piedmont Schools superintendent from 1959-1960.
Raised near Piedmont, he was homeschooled by his dad, The Rev. Terry Ward of the TP Church at N. MacArthur and N.W. 178.
“The way our family got started in rodeo was my oldest brother Brannon started going to our neighbors and learned to team rope when he was about 14.”
Andrew Ward is a full-time team roper, one of about 100 nationwide who compete for a living.
“It was the biggest rodeo I had ever roped in,” Andrew Ward said about the recent National Finals Rodeo outing. He said the team won about $90,000.
On his team is brother-in-law Buddy Hawkins of Stephensville, Texas.
He rides a horse named Biscuit who had been a racehorse who came off the track and Andrew Ward trained him to rope.
“I brought him along and got him into rodeo. Biscuit is 10 years-old.”
Andrew Ward competed in more than 65 rodeos and jackpot events last year. “That is how we make a living.”
Andrew Ward said he learned team-roping as a young boy. He recalls getting a rope for Christmas one year, and he stopped opening presents right away.
“I have a big passion to do it. I love to rope, and I’ve had great team ropers around me,” Andrew Ward said.
He won his first roping contest at age 7 in Cushing and took home his first check.
“I remember I won $47 and I was immediately hooked. It was a blast, and I had more money than I ever had and took mom, Terri, and dad, Terry, out to eat in Guthrie on the ride home.”
Terry Ward, his father said his son has grown up roping all over Canadian and Kingfisher counties.
“The whole family has been involved in rodeo in Canadian and Kingfisher counties, a very active rodeo area. We have ties to Piedmont because my dad was superintendent there years ago. Mustang is also a big-time rodeo area that has been familiar with the Ward family,” Terry Ward said.
Andrew Ward competed for the first rodeo of 2021 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in Odessa, Texas, Jan. 13. He will also compete at the International Rodeo Finals in Guthrie starting Friday, Jan. 15.
Andrew Ward is married to wife Hayli and lives 2 miles east of Piedmont where he makes his home when not on the rodeo circuit.