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The Agriculturist

Family Legacies

Allie Spivey

Family Legacies

Joyful sighs escape a man while watching his son under a fleet of neon lights. The vibration of the guitar string reaches the speaker and fills the air and his heart with pride. Meanwhile, somewhere far away, his oldest son is making him wish he could be in two places at once as he climbs on to the back of a bucking bronco to try to make another eight-second ride.

Buzz Cooper is a humble man, but when it comes to his family, nothing could stop him from sharing how proud he is with family, friends or the world.

Cooper was born and raised in Ralls, Texas. It was expected that Cooper would end up in the cotton business, but before he settled down, he had dreams of going to college. Cooper said he chose to attend Texas Tech University because of its strong agriculture programs, and decided to study to become an agriculture science teacher.

Cooper said, "After a couple months of student teaching, I decided I wanted to be there less than the kids wanted to be there."

Although Cooper had a change in heart, agriculture still ran through his veins, and the next adventure was riding saddle broncos.

When you have rodeo fever, nothing but the dirt flying and the eight-second buzzer ringing in your ear can cure you. So, he headed off to college to ride saddle broncs. Cooper rode for Texas Tech all the way through college then continued his career into the professional world of rodeo.

When asked about his rodeo career, Cooper started laughing and joked, "I rode saddle broncs for about 15 years and I am still in one piece, barely, but one piece none the less."

During his long-lived rodeo life he met Miss Rodeo Texas and Texas Tech graduate, Kim Henderson, and made her Mrs. Cooper. Soon, they had two sons, Bonner and Ross, who were looking at old photos of their dad and dreaming of the day they could crawl on the back of a wild horse and get turned loose.

The Cooper family has been successful in the bronc riding business, which the glass case filled with years of buckles, spurs and other awards shows. The family"s travel days are not yet over, with one son in the music business and the other continuing the bronc-riding legacy. Today, Ross, the youngest son, pursues his career in music with a unique sound that is country with a little folk rock in the mix.

"That boy has got raw talent. He didn"t get any of that talent from me," Cooper said.

In addition to his brother Ross, and father Buzz, Bonner Cooper is also a successful member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

"Both of my sons have made my wife and I very proud," Cooper said. "I have no idea where either of them will end up. I just hope wherever they end up, they are happy."

© 2012 Texas Tech Department of Agricultural Education & Communications