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Cover Family

The Huxtable Family

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06/01/2010 - When I was growing up Westerns were all the rage, both on television and at the movie theatre. Folks like John Wayne were big box office draws. Of course I had my favorite cowboys, one of which was my brother, who many times bravely rescued this "damsel-in-distress". Every little boy had his gun, holster, cowboy boots, spurs, and a right handsome cowboy hat. My brother looked great in his.

All this was simply a fantasy world for us until we moved to Wyoming nearly eleven years ago.

The first rancher we met was Ken Barbe, who graciously invited us "city slickers" to attend spring branding. I was so impressed with how strong he was (in his eighties) and how confident he was around his horses as he allowed us to ride. To him it was just another day on the ranch, but to us it was a day we'll always treasure. Ken impressed me as a real, genuine, "salt-of-the-earth" guy.

We have discovered this seems to be true for every rancher we have met and 22-year-old O.J. Huxtable is no exception. O.J.'s team roping picture (photographed by ...-- see cover, this issue) was given to Our Town Casper by his college rodeo coach, Tom Parker of Casper College. (GoT-birds!)

O.J. has been participating in rodeo activities since he was around 4-5 years old. I guess you could say he was "roped in" as a real tenderfoot. He made the high school national finals twice as a team roper, once heeling and once heading. He was also Reserved Champion of the College National Finals Rodeo. He has been on the pro circuit since the age of 18, team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling.

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Chatting with O.J. during our interview, I was even more impressed with his integrity, which was so evident. To celebrate after a rodeo, instead of going out and partying, he will head home and have a barbeque with his family. He doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, and is a hard worker. He received offers from Texas, Oklahoma and Montana, to name a few, but chose Casper College so as to stay near his family and also to help on the family ranch, Cadillac Ranch in the Douglas area.

During his college years he never left his horse in town. He drove back and forth every day and, when there was an event, loaded up the family. "I always wanted everybody with me," he says.

Speaking of his horse, whose name is "Daddy", it was particularly special to O.J. to be able to ride him during the college national finals. He had worked for many years with "Daddy", and was looking forward to riding him during his high school national finals, but "Daddy" was injured the night before and was unable to participate.

It seems O.J. is not the only talented member of his family. His younger brother, Brayden (18), rodeos for Casper College (although he is currently home working on the ranch for the summer break). Brayden participates in team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling. He is a machine tool technology major.

Brayden tells me there are three rules: (1) Do it safe, (2) Go to win, and (3) Always have fun. These sound like pretty good rules for life.

Mom (Dent) and Dad (Jim) Huxtable also rodeo. Mom breakaway ropes and team ropes. Dad team ropes and is just getting back into steer wrestling. The family has a second business on their ranch crushing rock to provide gravel and rock for the surrounding communities.

I asked O.J. if he had anything further he wanted to communicate to our community. He wanted me to make certrain to express his appreciation of Casper College Athletic Director, Bill Landen and Casper College Rodeo Coach, Tom Parker.

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