This week's "Don's Automotive Group Athlete Of The Week" is Cole Ford. He's a Junior at Sulphur High School, and represents his school and community in state and national rodeo competitions. Oh, and by the way, what a great cowboy name, too!

Cole’s love for the sport of rodeo has propelled him to being one of the most sought after competitors on a national level. He competes in multiple rodeo organizations, such as: Louisiana High School Rodeo, Cajun Rodeo Association, Louisiana Little Britches Rodeo Association, Ultimate Calf Roping's, International Youth Finals Rodeo, Cajun Little Britches Association, Silver Spurs Rodeo Association, Rising Star Calf Roping, Joe Beaver Calf Roping, Generation Next Calf Roping, and numerous jackpot calf ropings across the United States to fulfill his dream of one day holding the title of “World Champion”.

Cole says his athletic ability, skill set and ambitious goals wouldn’t be possible without his faith. He recognizes success in the arena can’t buy true happiness. At an early age, faith, family, and hard work showed him that millstones and goals are achievable when the time is put in. Cole’s goals are to continue bettering himself in and out of the arena. He’s a very hard worker, and when he’s not competing, you will find him in the practice pen - sometimes till midnight, tying calves until his hands are tired and blistered, always wanting just one more.

2017 Achievements:

  • 2017 Reserve Champion Tie down roper at Joe Beaver Jr. Superstar roping Glen Rose, TX
  • 2017 Reserve Rookie tie down roper Louisiana State Finals qualifier Lake Charles, LA
  • 2017 NLBRA Top 10 in the World Guthrie, OK
  • Cody Ohl Jr. Calf Roping qualifier. Hamilton, TX
  • Ultimate Calf Roping League qualifier Giddings, TX
  • 2017 Joe Beaver Shoot out qualifier. • Generation Next fastest calf champion Brenham, TX
  • International Youth Finals Rodeo top 25 in the World Shawnee, OK

In addition to his athleticism, he credits much of his success to his friends. Shane Hanchey and Steve Duhon, who support him and contribute greatly to his success in and out of the arena. He’s an unmatched advocate for raising awareness of the western lifestyle and reflecting a positive light to the sport of Rodeo. From determination to his perseverance, Cole has been fortunate in his rodeo career thus far, and is beyond grateful for the humbling success he’s had.

I was able to ask Cole some questions about his love of rodeo, and of pursuing his dreams in this sport.

Q: Cole, When did you realize that rodeo was the sport for you?
A: I started riding sheep and calves at Choupique youth rodeo when I was 5 years old. I've played all the other sports like tournament baseball, basketball, and football, but always had a passion for animals. At 12 years old is when I really started getting serious about roping, and since then I have been focusing on that.

Courtesy Of Cole Ford
Courtesy Of Cole Ford

Q: What is your favorite event and why?
A: I have competed in a lot of events in the past, like bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, and calf roping. But calf roping is defiantly my favorite event. I like calf roping the most because it's just you competing against everyone else, and all the hard work that me and my horse "Thumper" put in throughout the week to get ready for the rodeos makes it worth it when we win. 

Q: What is your favorite part about traveling to out of state rodeo events?
A: I like the competition that out of state rodeos offer. It's a new arena, new competitors, and I get to represent my state along with my hometown of Carlyss, and also the sponsors that stand behind and help me along the way, like Willard Ropes Company. They are really great people. 

Q: Who is your favorite professional rodeo cowboy and why?
A: My favorite professional cowboy is Shane Hanchey because he's a world champion from Sulphur, and because he works hard to be the best. He's just an awesome athlete. Shane has taught me what it takes to win and how to loose, because in rodeo you're not always the "winner", but it teaches you that hard work will overcome failure. Shane is a great role model, and he's helped make me the roper I am today.

Courtesy of Cole Ford
Courtesy of Cole Ford

Q: What is your favorite subject in school and why?
A: I really like Math. Math is something I will always need and use throughout life.

Q: My son wanted me to ask you this: Have you ever ridden a bull, and if so, how was that experience?
A: Yes, I've ridden bulls before. It's really fun, and it's a big adrenaline rush because a lot of stuff is happing so fast.

Q: What has been your proudest moment to date?
A: My proudest rodeo moment is when I won Reserve Champion at the 2017 Joe Beaver Jr. Superstar roping in Glen Rose, Texas. This roping is one of the biggest youth ropings in the United States, with some tough competition.

Cole's 2016 Achievements:

  • 2016 Champion SSR Tie down roper Sulphur, LA
  • 2016 Reserve High School Tie down Champion at Sulphur, LA
  • 2016 Joe Beaver Shoot out qualifier. • Won 2nd round at Joe Beaver’s roping Glen Rose, TX
  • Won the 1st and 3rd round at Generation Next calf roping Brenham, TX
  • Placed 3rd Overall for Generation Next Texas roping
  • Won 5 performances at Silver Spurs Association

Cole's 2015 Achievements:

  • 2015 Reserve Louisiana State Jr. High Rodeo Association Champion Lake Charles, LA
  • Won 6th in the Nation during the 2015 National Jr. High Rodeo Association Des Moines, IA
  • Won 5 events at North Central Louisiana Rodeo and All Around Cowboy
  • Reserve All Around Champion Calcasieu Parish Rodeo winning 3 events
  • Tri- Parish Acadiana Rice Arena Champion
  • Won All Around Champion Point Coupee winning 6 events
  • Won Northeast Louisiana rodeo. • LRC rodeo Champion

As you can see, Cole has been very busy competing all across the nation and representing Sulphur, Louisiana well. We wish him the best in his future endeavors, and are honored to spotlight his love for the sport of rodeo!

Cole, congratulations on being this week's "Don's Automotive Group Athlete Of The Week"!

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