The 17-year-old daughter of renowned team roper Calvin Taylor has been “roping my whole life,” she figures. The same can’t be said for Kyler Bell, Caroine’s partner in the 19 & Under Team Roping competition at the Junior National Finals Rodeo presented by YETI.
“He hasn’t been roping long,” Caroline said of Bell. “My dad trains a lot of guys and he kind of taught him how to rope. We all learn from Calvin Taylor.”
But Even Bell has more experience in the rodeo arena than Caroline Taylor’s horse.
“This is Spiderman’s first rodeo,” she said. “When my sister got him he was a really broncy ranch horse, but she trained him. She’s pregnant right now so I got to steal him.
“He’s an amazing horse and I thank my sister for letting me borrow him.”
Spiderman is no stranger to competition, though.
“It’s his first time in a rodeo set-up,” Caroline said. “He only goes to jackpots. That’s how my sister trained him, by going to backyard Mexican ropings.”
Taylor, Bell and Spiderman (along with Bell’s horse) got off to a rocky start at the Junior NFR, posting a no-time in the first round. But two solid runs in the second and third rounds were enough to put them in the Top 20 in the average and get them back to Saturday.
“We just have to stay in it,” Caroline said. “Don’t do anything stupid, just stay for the average. We didn’t come here to win a world title.”
Instead, Caroline is turning steers for Bell and, as the only girl competing in team roping here, turning heads in the stands.
“Being the only girl here I was really nervous,” Caroline said. “But I’ve turned three of them so far so it can’t be that hard.
“Like my dad said, ‘Don’t worry about what they’re doing, just stay in your game.’ My game is always to run up there and turn ‘em for my heeler to catch. It must be working because I’m here.”
Caroline admits she was also nervous about how Spiderman would perform in his first rodeo.
“Warming up we took him through the barrier a couple of times and he kind of hopped it,” she said. “But the guy said, ‘That’s fine. He’s fast enough.’
“(In our first run) He broke the barrier and ran out there. Once he saw the cow there was nothing else, he was headed for that.”
Calvin, who runs numerous jackpots at his Calvin Taylor Arena in Canutillo, Texas, outside of El Paso, Texas, admits he didn’t have to say much to Caroline before the week began.
“I just told her to beat ‘em with consistency and don’t make mistakes,” he said. “Let them beat themselves and you just do your job every time and let the chips fall where they may.
“I didn’t even have any words of wisdom after each run, that’s when you know you’re doing it good.”
While Calvin is obviously proud of what Caroline and Spiderman have accomplished this week, he’s just as impressed with Bell. After all, he’s the only one here team roping with a girl.
“I’m proud of him,” Calvin said. “He’s the one guy that took a chance on a girl. There are some super-talented ropers out there, so big hats off to him for trying a girl on.”
Now that Caroline and Bell have proved they belong in the field, she is focused on Saturday.
“I just have to keep my head in the middle and don’t watch everybody else,” said Caroline, who will attend New Mexico State University in nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico. “Everybody else is out there trying to go four-flat and we just need to be about six-something on both.”