Ramona cowboy Marcus Battaglia will spend the next year as the brother of Miss Rodeo California, but he received recognition in his own right in four rodeos during the two weekends prior to his sister’s Oct. 8 crowning.
Battaglia, along with team roping partner Shawn Howell of Castaic, placed fifth at the Poway Rodeo Sept. 25-27, fifth at the Barstow Pro Rodeo Sept. 25-27, third at the Kern County Fair Rodeo Oct. 2-3 in Bakersfield, and fourth at the San Dimas Western Days Rodeo Oct. 3-4. Battaglia works as the header, and Howell is the heeler.
Battaglia’s runs were all on borrowed horses.
“My good horse is down right now,” said Battaglia, who had been riding Zero until soreness caused that horse to be rested beginning in late July. “I was just trying to make the best runs I could on other horses.”
The 2008 Ramona High School graduate borrowed Blackie for his first-ever PRCA rodeo win, which occurred when Battaglia and Howell won the team roping at the Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Stock Horse Show and Rodeo Aug. 7-9. He borrowed his sister’s horse G-Unit for the Poway and Barstow rodeos.
During the Friday morning slack Sept. 25 at Poway, Battaglia and Howell were the second pair of team ropers to compete. They posted a time of 6.3 seconds, which after the rodeo would hold up as the fifth-place time and provide each team member with a payout of $589.95.
“It worked out,” Battaglia said.
The evening of Sept. 25 was spent roping in Barstow. Battaglia and Howell had a time of 6.0 seconds.
“Should have been faster, but that’s how it goes,” Battaglia said.
Fifth place at Barstow was worth $342.42 apiece to Battaglia and Howell.
Battaglia borrowed Cody from Howell to ride at the San Dimas and Bakersfield rodeos. During the Friday morning slack Oct. 2 at San Dimas, Battaglia and Howell had a time of 6.9 seconds.
“I went out there and just did my job,” Battaglia said. “We put it together good enough.”
That time actually led the rodeo until the Saturday night performance.
“We didn’t think we were going to place,” Battaglia said.
Battaglia and Howell were bumped two additional places by Sunday afternoon ropers. Fourth place at San Dimas paid each team roper $515.
Battaglia and Howard had their second consecutive time of 6.9 seconds during the Oct. 2 evening performance in Bakersfield.
“They’re real big and strong and they run hard,” Battaglia said of the steers at Bakersfield. “Got him and my heeler saved me.”
That time won the performance and led the rodeo until the Saturday afternoon session the following day. Battaglia and Howell each earned $551 for third place at Bakersfield.
“Couldn’t do it without the man upstairs,” Battaglia said of his rodeo successes.
Although Battaglia and Howell have not repeated their Santa Barbara win, Battaglia isn’t too disappointed with lower-position payouts.
“You’ve just got to keep placing and just keep getting a check,” he said.
Cowboys draw their stock, so drawing a cooperative animal can be even more important than a cowboy’s skill.
“Everyone wants to win, but you’ve got to go with your draw,” Battaglia said. “Hopefully the best comes out of it.”