There are a few stories wrangling with each other when it comes to how rodeo started. Amongst the more interesting is that before large battles generals would attempt to rile their horses to see which was the calmest despite the fear, a tough version of trial and error as the downside being that sitting on an easily-riled horse isn’t ideal. The “battle” aspect of rodeo has allowed it to evolve into a huge sport over the last few centuries.
Texas-based firefighter James Horcasitas was born to a family of team ropers and was bitten by the rodeo bug early in life. Much to his parents’ chagrin James spent his early years in the family business, starting with bull riding, rodeo clowning, and various other jobs around the arena. However as many athletes do, James has found himself getting older and made the journey into the pressbox.
“I remember getting to the arena one night and the announcer was MIA,” reflects Horcasitas, “The boss said ‘Hey you talk a lot, you’re announcing tonight.’”
The move from the arena to the press booth was well received by Horcasitas’ family who were not fans of the injuries he compiled while working multiple jobs in rodeo. His laundry list of injuries included: breaking various bones in his face multiple times, multiple jaw dislocations, a broken collarbone, broken legs, broken ribs, joints fractures, and being knocked out on multiple occasions.
“I guess you can say I already had the face for radio.” joked Horcasitas. “At least this is something my parents can be proud of.”
Having his parents questions his decisions is an ongoing theme in Horcasitas’ life, as even his decision to become a firefighter was met with torment from his family.
“I come from a family of police officers,” mentioned Horcasitas the self-proclaimed ‘redsheep of the family’, “We came from a small town and my grandfather was a State Police Officer, so was my father, and so is my brother. Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk into an interview knowing that your father has given the Department Captain multiple speeding tickets?”
Horcasitas splits his time between the firehouse and press box now, as even our conversation took place after leaving the firehouse at 8 and packing for a weekend-long rodeo. His love for the sport is apparent.
“Modern sports are so scripted,” said Horcasitas, “With rodeo you’re going to see something unscripted and unique. It’s a Wild West Show that is never the same thing twice. I’ve seen decade-old arena records broken, unknowns come onto the scene and beat everyone, that’s the beauty of rodeo.”
Boxing is another love for Horcasitas who also works with a local boxing charity called “Battle of the Badges” which pits a Police Officer in the ring with a local FireFighter. He also works as a boxing trainer as one of his fighters recently stepped into the ring with the undefeated Canelo Alvarez.
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