Tuf Cooper has never shied away from being Roy Cooper's son and the expectations that come with it. He's always embraced it.
“It is the biggest advantage that is out there, to be the legend Roy Cooper's son,” said the 22-year-old Texas cowboy. “The best expectations to have are the expectations to be great.”
Greatness is what Oklahoma cowboy Roy Cooper of Durant was with a rope. Tuf Cooper's father won eight world championships in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association: six calf roping gold buckles, one steer roping title and one all-around championship.
Tuf wasn't alive when his dad was the dominant roper on the planet. The youngest of Roy Cooper's three sons, Tuf was born in 1990, six years after his dad won his last gold buckle.
At age 18, Tuf became the youngest cowboy ever to qualify to the National Finals Rodeo in calf roping.
In December, Tuf claimed his first world championship in calf roping. He was just 21 at the time, the same age as his dad when he won his first world title.
“I have learned how to win from my dad,” Tuf said. “That is the biggest thing that he's taught me. That's something that's hard to learn. Not very many people can teach how to win and he's the very best at it.”
Tuf said he started thinking about winning a gold buckle the first time a serious thought came into in his head. He admits his father's success has always motivated him.
“That pushed me in the practice pen to be better every day and it still continues to push me because he's got eight (world championships). I only have one. I got a lot of work to do, a whole lot of work to do.”
Tuf ropes between 200 and 300 calves each year for money. Before and after each calf roping run, he calls his dad.