World Champion Steer Roper takes part in Liberty Hill Open Rodeo
By Christine Bolaños
When Scott Snedecor thinks back to the moment he was first named World Champion Steer Roper he remembers a time of pure joy and fulfillment. There is no other experience in his life that can really compare with the exception of the birth of his children.
To find a place that supports and appreciates steer roping and the rodeo culture the way the Liberty Hill community does is an oasis for cowboys like Snedecor.
“It’s close to Austin, it’s close to San Antonio. It’s not way off the beaten path,” he said. “Everybody’s excited and wanting to do anything and everything for you. When you show up they’re all for it 100 percent. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Snedecor looks forward to steer roping and then waking up the next morning to go to church and have breakfast and then get right back to his life’s passion.
Corey Ross, pastor and founder of Williamson County Cowboy Church in Liberty Hill, and a cowboy himself, reached out to Snedecor about four years ago.
Ross wanted to learn the art of steer roping — a rodeo event that features a steer and one mounted cowboy — from someone he believed to be among the best of the best. As a two-time world champion, earning the title in 2005 and 2008, Snedecor fit the bill.
The two quickly became friends and travel to rodeo events together all throughout the year. If they happen to meet at Williamson County Cowboy Church on a Sunday, the duo will go to church and then go on their way.
Snedecor has also built relationships with the church congregation, many of whom, are helping put on the Liberty Hill Open Rodeo April 8-10.
The rodeo will feature a steer roping segment for the second time this year and Snedecor will once again participate. Besides the thrill of the sporting event itself, he appreciates that the event comes with the chance to win some money as not all rodeos offer this opportunity. However, he added, he enjoys the action all the same whether he is competing for a hamburger or an award.
“The last couple of years he started a daddy-daughter dance,” Snedecor said of Ross. “This Friday is when it is. This will be the second year that I go to that with my daughter. It’s a neat little event that he has.
“He does church all over, too,” he added. “While we’re traveling he does church. When we’re roping on the weekend he’s usually the guy that does church service anywhere from Fort Worth to South Dakota. I think he’s one of the best at what he does. I really enjoy all the services I’ve been to.”
Snedecor has been steer roping for about 20 years. He grew up roping but decided to take it to the next level and start working with steers after becoming inspired by his coach.
“My coach was a steer roper for many years,” he shared. “I started on it my second year at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde.”
His coach had a hard time taking him seriously at first as many youngsters would tell him they wanted to learn to steer rope but would not commit to the time and dedication to mastering the art.
Snedecor was different. After about two years, his coach took him under his wing and showed him what it took to steer rope.
Snedecor was so talented at the sport he motivated his coach to keep practicing at it himself. To the cowboy, steer roping provides the greatest sense of fulfillment.
“It’s just part of being a competitor. I guess that winning drive and wanting to do good,” Snedecor said. “Every kid wants to be a world champion or make it to the finals or something to that effect.”
He remembers watching steer roping videos growing up. Once he had a family, he realized the sport was more family-friendly than other rodeo activities.
He said he has learned to be more patient through the art of steer roping. Whether it’s coaching kids or adults or realizing that he should not rush precision of the sport.
Snedecor has been steer roping full-time professionally since he and wife, Kelli, sold their western store in Uvalde after 13 years. They sold everything from boots and hats to jeans. The couple has lived in Fredericksburg for about four years along with their son, Colton, 17, and daughter Kallyn, 12.
His family plans to meet him in Liberty Hill for the rodeo next week. They enjoy traveling with him during the summer months when the children are off from school. They will accompany him up north to Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
“I don’t like staying away from them for too long,” Snedecor said.
He said the American Cowboy culture is a way of life for him. He participates in about 40 rodeos a year. Snedecor is looking forward to performing better at this year’s steer roping event than he did last year.
“It’s a very humbling sport. You can be a top dog one day and not win a dime the next day,” he said. “I look forward to coming back to this every year. I’d like to thank the committee behind the great event in Liberty Hill.
“All the guys behind the scenes, my hats off to them,” he said. “All those guys come straight out of that church. (Corey Ross’) band guys go above and beyond helping with all of that.”