Tricks of the Trade
A Look Behind…
by Avery Tanner
Photographs by Minta Maria Smail
FOR THE FITZPATRICKS, trick roping is the family business. Kevin Fitzpatrick (not pictured) has been performing around the country for years, with son Will (pictured above) now cementing his spot as a well-renowned trick roper himself. The competitive art, which involves spinning a lasso, or lariat, is quite a sight to behold and one we were lucky enough to witness firsthand at our Fall Style photo shoot. We asked the duo from Bandera to share the history of their unique family trade.
It all started with Kevin’s father, Bud Fitzpatrick, who once rode a bull into Madison Square Garden for the National Finals Rodeo. “My grandfather was quite a cowboy who lived to be 99 years old. That’s where our cowboy legacy began,” Will says. A friend of Kevin’s father taught Kevin how to trick rope, and eventually, Kevin taught Will. At just 20 years old, Will has now been roping for 16 years, a skill he says sets him apart: “I like that I can do it and not a lot of people can.”
Earlier this year, Kevin needed shoulder surgery, which required three months’ rest, but he had already booked a number of upcoming jobs. Enter Will. After finishing his school year at Texas State University, Will came home to take over the gigs for the summer.
The father-son duo has a natural chemistry. “It’s really comfortable working with my dad. We’ve always done it together, so we know exactly what the other is thinking during our shows,” says Will.
Some of their most notable jobs include the Los Angeles County Fair, tailgates at Super Bowls, and plenty of rodeos. As for Will’s favorite client, that distinction belongs to Morgan Freeman. On the day of his high school graduation, Will flew to Mississippi to perform at Freeman’s birthday party.
The Fitzpatricks both have talent and charm to spare and can share in their love for this unique career. As for the future, Will hopes to give life to the “dying art” that is trick roping, something he will surely do with style.