HELENA — MTN Sports first met Timmy Sparing in 2019 as he was training and working his way back into rodeo shape ahead of his home rodeo, the Last Chance Stampede.
“I won Houston in 2018, which is a big, big rodeo. And then after that, I suffered a herniated disc and that kind of put the bulldogging on hold for a little while, and just started rehabbing to get back in the arena,” said Sparing.
“(The doctor) just said surgery, there's — it's a matter of time before your back really goes out and if you just put in some hard work and rehab that you'll be — you should be able to get back in the arena. For a little while anyway.”
After battling various injuries that can come with a sport where athletes jump from a horse riding approximately 20 miles per hour to grab a 450-pound steer by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, Sparing got his big break both on and off the arena dirt.
In 2022, Sparing had a successful campaign earning just under $100,000 to finish 15th in the world and qualify for his first-ever National Finals Rodeo, and he also got married to another rodeo athlete, Danielle (Wright) Sparing.
“I didn't really come from a rodeo background, so my dreams of making the NFR were, I mean, coming from a town kid. And I just — I had a goal to get there and find ways to do it and to finally fulfill that was, I mean, a dream come true,” said Sparing. “Especially to find someone like Danielle.
“She was there the whole way with me making it to the finals. And I don't — I don't know if I would have made it without her.”
Due to PRCA rules, in order for Timmy and Danielle to enter together they needed to be legally married giving the two a new experience on the rodeo circuit this year.
“It's been really fun, like actually getting to travel together. I feel like we spend a lot more time together. When we rodeo separate, a lot of times we might see each other at a rodeo, but we don't really get time in between together,” said Danielle.
“Especially with him being on the road for the last year and a half — with him being on the road for the last year and a half, like we might get to see each other at a rodeo, but we're lucky if we saw each other once a month.”
MTN spoke to Timmy and Danielle ahead of the Last Chance Stampede’s Saturday evening runs, but as the sun ducked behind the Continental Divide that evening, the night played out like a storybook for Timmy.
Sparing posted a 3.6-second run, good enough to take the top spot at the rodeo and hold for a first-place finish.
“Very relieved, I get a little nervous at the home-towner. Lots of family, lots of friends coming out to watch. So it’s awesome to win your hometown and show everyone what you’re here for,” said Timmy after his run.
As for what’s next for the Sparings? Timmy told MTN he knows he can’t bulldog forever and that he wants to go out when he feels he’s bulldogging at his best.
“I could see another couple of years,” said Timmy.
Though he may not be flying out of the chute trying to wrestle a steer to the ground for a paycheck in the future, he said he still plans to stay around the rodeo lifestyle and Danielle may also have some more plans for him in the future.
“I'm in it for the long haul. I haven't really had the opportunity to do as much as I would like to yet. I feel like with barrel racing, so much relies on your horse and it takes a long time to find the right horse to get to go. So, whenever I do have the opportunity and I have the right horse to go, we've talked about it a lot, then it'll be my turn and he'll probably drive me around,” said Danielle with a laugh.