By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ staff writer
Roping cattle may be nothing new in West Texas — but doing it with only one arm, like David Bishop does, could be something to write the homestead about.
The Parmer County resident does not rope one-armed just to show off. He was born with half his right arm missing. But he never let that stop him.
“He never knew that he had only one hand,” said Bishop’s mom, Bea Prather. “He challenged everything. He just never knew he was handicapped, and I haven’t found anything that he can’t do.”
Prather said her son, the third of six siblings, never ceases to amaze her. She recalled how he scaled a 5-foot fence at the age of 2 and how early-on he played around with string, roping pretty much everything in sight.
“He’d rope chickens, turkeys, the dog, the cat,” Prather said, “his brothers and sister, his mother.”
Bishop found a way to turn his livestock and roping passion into a full-time job. His duties on a Friona ranch include helping sick livestock, tending the herd, and, of course, bringing the cattle home.
“I wake up and spend all day riding through cattle,” Bishop said. “I couldn’t handle being inside all day.”
In addition to his full-time job, Bishop said he also gets emergency calls from Cargill Meat Solutions when one of its cattle escapes. At $150 per cattle brought home, a task Bishop said takes him 45 minutes to one hour, the rate equals what some lawyers charge.
After a long day at the ranch, Bishop said he likes to unwind by riding horses on his swatch of land outside Bovina.
He also likes to go to the lake, rope or watch the rodeo, and competes in team ropings.
He also drops by his mother’s house in Bovina every evening. Prather said that when her son is around, he is usually offering assistance.
“He helps his brothers breaking colts and stuff. He teaches them what he knows,” she said, adding, “He has such a heart.”
Bishop said his big heart can be traced back to his big family.
“There was a house full of people all the time,” Bishop said. “You gotta have a big heart with all them people.”
He was born and raised in Fort Sumner until the family moved to Bovina when he was 10. Bishop graduated from Bovina High School in 1999 where he played football, basketball and baseball, participated in Future Farmers of America and dabbled in track.
“I wanted to do what everyone else was doing,” Bishop said, adding that he does not feel he has done anything amazing. “I just get bored so I need to challenge myself.”