Rodeo made life 'Mo Betta' for Oklahoma cowboy Maury Tate
Maury Tate, of Apache, is among those with bucking stock selected for Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo as it returns to Oklahoma City.
Take two bull-riding stories, throw a roping and apparel career in between and you have Maury Tate, of Apache.
In neither case, should Tate have been on a bull in the two stories he likes to tell. But the cowboy's heart for rodeo overpowered his good sense.
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That heart for rodeo continues to beat strong as Tate, now a stock contractor, has again had horses and bulls selected to buck at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo at Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
Through the years, whatever Tate has been involved with, he's gone at it in high gear.
Tired of showing up at a rodeo and seeing others wearing the shirt he'd just bought, Tate started getting shirts made by a friend's mom. That evolved into the “Mo” Betta shirts and that drew the attention of individuals such as Garth Brooks.
In 1991, Tate was the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo tie-down roping champion. For several years, he was very involved in other events, including the nationally-known “Mo” Betta Invitational Calf Roping.
In more recent years, Tate has made his way to the other end of the arena as a stock contractor with bulls selected to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Last December, J.W. Harris and Tate's bull Bailey Hou battled for eight seconds on an 88-point ride to win the fourth round of the NFR in Las Vegas. Also in the last few years, Tate and wife, Nikki, have handled the rodeo stock for the Cody (Wyo.) Nite Rodeo.
“The biggest thing I got out of rodeo is the people,” he said. “It's the greatest group of people that you'll ever be around.”
And he's made a point to be around them just about all his life.
Made a plan
Tate was 7 years old, and the minimum age to ride bulls at a nearby youth rodeo was 8 years old. So he made a plan. He talked a buddy, who was old enough, into entering. Then as the bull riding got closer and closer, Tate said, “I got him scared and he chickened out.”
“I was able to get on his bull and take his place under his name,” he said.
After Tate made a name for himself in rodeo as a tie-down roper, his life looped its way back to the bucking chute and a few years ago, he found himself in it. He wasn't about to chicken out, like his childhood buddy had.
“I'll never forget it, because they won it on this bull a couple of nights before,” he said of his experience at the Cody Nite Rodeo. “He was just a good spinner is all he was. I ran a few extras in there thinking that some of those kids would want to get on.”
Well, they didn't. So Tate said he'd do it. Instead of a bull-riding glove, he used an NFL glove his partner in the “Mo” Betta Bull Company, defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, had given him. Tate had no spurs, no protective vest.
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