Dallen McIntire roped the average victory at the 2023 Great Lakes Circuit Finals with a time of 26.5 seconds on three calves, winning his first-ever PRCA buckle.
Though he’s a champion tie-down roper, family tradition says McIntire should have been a bulldogger.
“I grew up around it. I don’t think there was another choice,” the Thayer, Iowa native said of rodeo. “My grandpa on my dad’s side had six kids and they were all involved. My grandpa, my dad and my oldest uncle are all steer wrestlers so people always tell me, ‘I can’t believe you rope calves and don’t bulldog.”
McIntire’s mother, Terrinda, was a barrel racer and his father, Jerry, still enters a few rodeos at 58 years young. His older siblings, Wylie and Dalli, led the way into the sport. McIntire recalled the chaotic life his parents had during their youth.
“My poor parents,” McIntire said. “Every night, we’d have the horses saddled up and want to rope. They’d come home from working all day and have to help us, work the chutes,” he said. “Then they’d be running around, taking us to barrel races, ropings, bulldoggings. And they’d try to compete themselves.”
Family reunions always centered around horses and there was usually a roping dummy out for entertainment. Despite all the steer wrestlers, McIntire dialed in on the tie-down at about 10 years old.
“I was always messing around with a rope. Roy Durfey, Tyson’s dad, lived about two hours away and had ropings all winter. I remember Dad telling me, ‘You ready to go to a jackpot this weekend?’” McIntire, 23, remembered with a laugh. “I said I didn’t think I was ready, and Dad said, ‘You’re going.’”
Already hooked on rodeoing, that winter of jackpotting at Durfey’s solidified that McIntire would be a roper.
“The Huber family is about an hour away and Durfey’s are two hours . . . pretty good idea that I would pick tie down roping,” McIntire joked.
The Hubers have helped him in multiple ways, from granting access to their indoor arena for practice during bad weather to helping him find his good horse, Mint.
“The story within the story is that horse came from Cody,” McIntire said. “I bought her in April, and he convinced me I needed to come try her.”
“She’s awesome,” he said. “Cody and his dad are always there to help, too. It’s wild considering you’re roping against him, but he still wants you to have a good horse. It’s awesome to get to practice with him. They’ll do anything to help you.”
In fact, Huber and McIntire attended another finals event just before Louisville together.
“I told him I had never won a PRCA buckle,” McIntire, in his second year as a pro, said. “I said I really wanted one and I was tired of wearing something that didn’t say PRCA on it.”
“He told me, you’ll get one next weekend,” McIntire said.
It didn’t take long for that prediction to come true. McIntire won the first round of the circuit finals with an 8.4 second run.
“When I picked up the buckle from Huber [the circuit’s tie down director], he said, ‘there you go,’” McIntire said.
McIntire followed up with runs of 8.9 and 9.2 seconds, respectively.
“I was really happy with the first run,” McIntire said. “It’s better to rope good than to try to play catch up. After winning the first go, I did not try to back off or safety up. I would have loved to win the second and third go’s too.”
He finished fifth, just out of the money in round two and sixth in the final round.
“The only thing I said to myself was, ‘No wrap and hooeys,’” he admitted. “I wanted to just get out as fast as I could and make the best run possible.”
Mint showed off in round two when McIntire drew a stronger calf.
“Thank God for a good horse,” he laughed. “She got to show out.”
“She is extremely fast and easy to rope on. It’s pretty simple for her and she’s easy to get along with.”
McIntire worked to not overthink the strategy, noting he didn’t even worry about what his draws were.
“The more I can keep my mind out, the better,” he said. “I beat myself a lot more than I have been beaten so I tried to just go rope and do what I can.”
With the average race being a dogfight, McIntire’s blueprint seemed brilliant.
“After it was over, I saw how close it was . . . Jesse Hinkle was 26.8,” he noted. Huber was only half a second behind McIntire to finish third. “I’m glad I didn’t know!”
With ProRodeo slowing down for the holidays, McIntire will stay busy with his other gig, raising fallow deer. It’s a career choice that fell to him from a neighbor, a man who was like a second grandpa to him, who sadly succumbed to cancer a few years ago.
“We were very close and he used to come to all our rodeos to watch us,” he said. “He left me 30 head of deer and I snowballed into it.”
After his first year rodeoing left his finances shaky, the new business venture has proven a perfect fit as a supplemental income.
“It’s a fall and winter deal so it gives me time to rodeo in the summer,” he said. “I always thought it would be something cool to do but I would much rather have worked for him than own it and him be gone.”
Still, his lifestyle now is fulfilling on many levels.
“It’s great to be able to rodeo for my grandpa and it’s cool to carry on the deer deal for my other grandpa,” he said. “It’s carrying on traditions and they way they did stuff.”
On the rodeo front, McIntire is looking forward to a busy 2024 where he has big goals.
“I’m going full on, I want to try to make the Finals,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to win the average, so I could get to the NFR Open.”
“I have a good start with the circuit finals money,” he noted. “We’ll see what I can get done and I am happy I get to go to an extremely good rodeo next summer.”