Peggy Garman is happiest when she’s on a horse with a rope in her hand.
Thanks to years of dedication and practice, the 24-year-old from Sundance, Wyoming, can stay in that happy place, traveling around the country with her horse, Cash, competing against other breakaway ropers on the professional circuit.
On Sunday, Garman won the third go-round of the second bracket in San Antonio, a prestigious win for the Crook County cowgirl.
“This was my first year to ever get to go to San Antonio since they’ve included the breakaway roping,” Garman told Cowboy State Daily. “They’ve limited it to 50 entries, and they have certain qualifications, and I managed to sneak in there by being in the top 10 of the world standings when the entries closed this year.”
Garman grew up on her family ranch outside of Sundance showing cattle and horses, and spending as much time as she could on the back of a horse.
“I have a strong passion for agriculture and a passion to rope,” she said. “And I’m just lucky that I get to do this.”
Garman graduated from high school in 2015, then attended Casper College, finishing her degree in agribusiness online through Utah State University.
Although she tried her hand at barrel racing, Garman found her niche in breakaway roping.
In this women’s event on the rodeo circuit, the rider catches the loop of their rope over a calf’s neck, but the calf is not tied or thrown. The rope is tied to the horn of the rider’s saddle by a string, and when the rope is pulled tight, the string breaks and the run ends.
The rider who ropes their calf in the least amount of time – usually 2-3 seconds – wins the event.
Success On the Circuit
Since the season started in October, Garman has been on a winning streak.
“I did OK in the Mountain States Circuit Finals (in Loveland, Colorado in October),” she said. “I won one round there and kind of got a little bit of a boost in the standings.”
What really put her over the top to qualify for the prestigious San Antonio competition was winning the third go-round at the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world finals in Waco, Texas, in November.
“It’s only February,” said Garman. “The season doesn’t end until Sept. 30, and there’s a lot of rodeo left.”
This is the first year that Garman has made it her goal to qualify for the national finals in December, so she is going after that with single-minded determination.
“When that’s your main goal, you really don’t have time to pursue anything else outside of bringing 100% of your work ethic every day, even when it’s cold at home,” she said.
That work ethic has earned her a number of sponsorships, including Wyoming Downs and Cactus Ropes, which supplies her with equipment that she – and her horse – needs to see continued success.
Garman isn’t winning these events alone. Her roping partner is her 18-year-old horse, Cash, which she originally bought for barrel racing.
“He took over as my main mount in 2019 and has continued to get stronger and better and gives me 110% every time,” she said. “So he’s a great partner to have.”
A great horse is crucial for breakaway roping, Garman said.
“In the end, it’s you and your horse against that calf, and whoever makes the best run that day is going to be the winner,” she said.
Arena Record At Cheyenne Frontier Days
Garman has seen her share of success over the years, but her proudest moment might be at last year’s Daddy Of ’Em All, Cheyenne Frontier Days, where she set the arena record for breakaway roping.
“I drew a great calf and I executed a great plan,” said Garman of her record-setting run of 3 seconds flat. “That has been one of the highlights of my career, just because of the history of Cheyenne – you know, somebody might win Cheyenne every year, but there’s not a lot of people that get to say that they set the arena record.”
Garman said that being able to even compete at San Antonio is a career highlight.
“Being able to excel there is surreal for me, because it’s a stage that you’ve always dreamed about,” she said. “Everybody talks about how loud and energetic that building is, and to experience it for the first time, they’re definitely not wrong.
“It’s so surreal, the crowd is kind of just like right on top of you, and so it gets you pumped up – that place explodes when anybody makes a great run.”
Her success in San Antonio also added $1,250 to her season’s earnings, placing her at 37th in the world.
But no matter her success, her love for the sport makes it worth the daily effort.
“I love it,” she said. “And when you love something so much it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 below zero and the wind’s blowing or 100 degrees. If it’s something you love, you get up every day and you do it.”
And there’s no end in sight for the cowgirl from Sundance.
“I guess as long as it is still fun and something I love, I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can,” she said.