Okla. - Many people associated with rodeo talk about
the family atmosphere the sport fosters.
None know that any more than the Poppino clan of Big
Cabin, Okla.: Tana, Marty and Brodie. Rodeo is in their
blood as well as their bloodline, and they travel the
country chasing their gold buckle dreams.
They also are part of the nearly 500 contestants who
have entered the competition at the 66th edition of
the Will Rogers Stampede, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday,
May 25-Sunday, May 27, at Will Rogers Stampede Arena
just off East Blue Starr Drive in Claremore.
"It's awesome because this is one of the few rodeos
that we get to go to together," said Tana Poppino,
a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier
in barrel racing. "This is also one of the rodeos
that's closest for us, so it's one that we all want
to do good at.
"I think it's great that our two hometown rodeos,
the one in Claremore and the one in Vinita, area both
memorials to Will Rogers, and we get to celebrate a
famous Oklahoman that the whole world got to know."
Marty and Tana Poppino met while attending Oklahoma
Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships and
married in 1985. A few years later, they brought a son
into their rodeo world. Now he's competing in ProRodeo
on a permit while receiving his education at Southwestern
Oklahoma State University.
"I'm excited that I get to rope with my dad and
be there for my mom," said Brodie Poppino, 21,
who will compete in steer roping and tie-down roping
in Claremore. "It'll also be great for me to get
to rope in front of my Pa and Granny and that they'll
be able to watch us all."
Although he's competed in various events, Marty Poppino
has focused on steer roping. He's pretty good at it,
too. He's been one of the top hands in the Prairie Circuit
for a number of years.
"We really don't get to go to too many rodeos together,"
Tana Poppino said of the family gathering in Claremore.
"We try to go to circuit rodeos between now and
the time I leave for the summer.
"I'm just glad that Claremore has steer roping
so that we can. This part of the world has more steer
ropers than about any other part of the world. It's
awesome that our local rodeos have it, because Brodie
can rope and have his dad there to kind of mentor him,
and I get to see them both compete."