Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lazy E V Productions Presents


Whether a beginner, a seasoned veteran or just wanting to improve your rope or horse-handling skills, this living legend can help you.

Normally to attend Roping School it would cost $700 or more in expenses such as:
                     travel fuel costs
                     overnight lodging

Take advantage of having the legend come to you for only $300 per roper or $550 per team for the 2-day school.

In the history of rodeo, no other name is more synonymous with team roping than that of Camarillo.  Leo's list of accomplishments are too many to mention, his titles include:

       1 PRCA World All Around Title
       6 PRCA World Team Roping Titles
       39 National Finals Rodeo Qualifications
       6 National Finals Rodeo Team Roping Average Titles (A Record) Classic Camarillo

For more information on the instructor & his training methods visit  www.camarilloteamroping.com

Advanced Registration Required
Registration Details:
Advanced Registration Fee:  $300 per Roper or $550 per Team for 2-day school
Payable in advance by check, cash or money order
Payment due by October 15, 2012
For fee and payment information contact Cindy Abril, (520) 603-7272

Upon receipt of payment a Registration Certificate will be returned to you. Only paid participants with a Certificate will be admitted to arena area. Event held at Billy's Arena – West Ajo & Kinney Rd. area.
LazyE V Productions
Marc Vasquez & Cindy Vasquez Abril - Tucson, AZ
Marc (520) 270-9585 for Information or Cindy (520) 603-7272 for Registration

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Today I’d like to pay tribute to the string of rodeo-champion horses that were instrumental in the careers of the Camarillo boys.  Some were more famous than others, but all were equally valuable in the shaping of our success.

As I think back on each of the horses we shared through our 20-year run (1968-1988), it’s hard to single out or place one above the other.  They were all better than average horses, distinct in very, unique ways.  I did, however, have my true favorite. 

Picking up the leg just after my full-time career was a palomino gelding I almost passed by.  I was leaving my good friend, Dan’s (Fisher) place, and as we were shaking hands and hugging good bye, he went and loaded the horse in my trailer.  I tried to explain how I didn’t need a heel horse, but Dan would not hear it.  He insisted I needed this one, telling me, “That’s alright.  You take him anyway, use him, and if for some reason you still don‘t need him down the road, well then, just bring him back.”    

When I first got on this horse, we struggled, because he could run, I mean RUN.  He ran harder than any horse I’d ever been on.  He ran so hard all the time that I had to recondition my roping.  But, the more I roped on him, the better I got.  And the better I got, the better we got.  Soon we just seemed to fit each other.  Not only was he the fastest horse in the pack, he could really square up to help me heel a steer as fast as possible. 

Commencing semi-retirement, I’d begun toning down my tour, weeding out the county fairs, etc. and just going to the better ropings.  This was also the time when team roping was making its transition from yester-year’s methods to modern-time heeling.  Because I was semi-retired and not going so hard, plus I had just turned 50, it was easy to fall out of the momentum of progression, so I needed a horse who could make up the difference for me.  This (Danny Fisher) horse was “Magic”.  He was the golden ticket, one of them horses that just “got it.”   He knew the play and got off on giving it to me.  I took him to the Timed Event and won my second Timed Event Championship (1989) on him.  I took him to Salinas, and won on him.  The Mike Booth match roping in Oakdale, was no match for us--Cha Chinggggg.  I roped on him at the Cal Palace with Walt Roddman.  We were one of the first teams out and we strung our steer in 4 (seconds), when 4 was unheard of winning ourselves the first day-money.  I would’ve won the Bob Fiest on him, but my header broke out on our last steer.  These are just a few of a long list of triumphs Magic and I accomplished together.  I think I ended up giving $6,500.00 for Magic, but I wouldn’t take a million.    

God works in mysterious ways, they say, and you never know where a blessing’s going to show up.  The least expected ones seem to offer the greatest rewards, hence I was extremely fortunate to have Magic come along when he did.  He is the reason I was so competitively successful at age 50 and semi-retired.  He was a modern-type heel rocket, that really squared up to help me heel a steer in the first jump.  Magic fulfilled my need to out-mount my competitors, he met all my progressive demands, and he made doing what I do…fun..

To have a great horse come along in life is a genuine blessing.  My brothers and I have always been grateful for the dynamic, 4-legged partners we were multi-blessed to have throughout our career.  And with each one’s passing goes a chunk of our hearts.  Losing Magic, the last of our champions-dynasty, brings the deepest sorrow.  He was to me like one of my favorite songs, “This Is The Last Cowboy’s Waltz” (Ed Bruce & Willie Nelson)…and I’ll never forget our dance.

Wild Fire
Double Tuff

That’s all I know…

Rope Smart,

The Lion

Monday, August 6, 2012


Many “rodeons” consider the 4th of July “Cowboy Christmas,” but to me, the week after the 4th embarks on the best 2 - 3 rodeo-weeks of the year.  Besides the winter rodeos, the mid-July rodeos offer the most opportune time of your season to get hot.  Nampa, Ogden, Salt Lake, Salinas, Cheyenne, to name a few, are all major money hits with more than one head.  The beauty of multi-heads is that rope-ability outshines the luck-of-the-draw.  If a guy plugs along in each round, he can usually place on at least one or two, and if he has the ability, stay in the hunt and pick up the average to rake in a good size check.  And of course, there are a lot of other rodeos around these biggies that are available for a guy to stay busy.

When I’m around mi rodeo compadres, I talk to the ones on top, I also converse with the ones on the lower end.  I hear about who’s going for world championships, and I see at the top of the Standings list the usual battle going on.  During my Salinas visit, my buddy Jade (Corkill) and his partner Caleb (Driggers) took the lead for the World.  The very next day, Patrick Smith and Trevor Brazil took it back.  At the conclusion of Cheyenne Pat and Trevor extended their lead even further and are now coasting into the 2nd half of the season with a substantial lead, which, by the way, will never be too overwhelming, because a guy can win $100,000 at the finals and swing back on top. 

I had a long conversation with Jade Corkill, and I told him, “Whenever I see rodeo results, you guys (Corkill/Driggers) are first or second, and I expect you’re winning the “World” by a landslide.  Over the 4th you won day money at Prescott, and more at this and that rodeo, making it seem as though your sailing on top, when in actuality you hold only a short 8-hours lead, not even enough time to put in print.  Every time you look over your shoulder, here comes Trev and Pat back again.”  For instance, Jade won Nampa Saturday night and they were holding the World.  They came back the very next day (Sunday) as 2nd high team at Salinas, broke out on their last steer allowing Patrick and Trevor to go on and win the rodeo.

Now, Trevor and Patrick are way back out in the lead again.  Those two are stealthy.  They kind of coast along for a ways, and then bang, they take a major rodeo.  After Salinas, they went a little further along winning 2nd here and 3rd there, and then bang, they won Cheyenne. To me when you hit the major rodeos like Patrick and Trevor have, rodeo’s easy, but when you have to crawl along and win all the pumpkin-roller, Tom Greene county fairs, you get a little of every arena under your fingernails, and you’re really earning your stripes.  In any case, watching this race for the world reminds me of another story. 

Back in the day, when I was in a heated battle for the World, Walt Woodard approached me and said, “You know, this race for the World title is all fine and dandy for you all in the upper echelon of the leader board.  Everybody is watching and wondering which one of you will be the Champions of the Word this time.  But, while you’re all competing for gold buckles and NFR supremacy, let me tell you something about the scene where I sit.  There’s a real, heated battle going on down here around 15th place that reminds me of the war they’re having in Nicaragua.  It’s bad and bloody, yet nobody outside of it really gives a shit.”  And generally speaking, he’s right. 

I have my young buddies at the top that I’m pulling for, but I also have my young buds at the bottom that I’m pulling for (just to make the Finals).  I know what a grueling road it is for them all, at this second half.  Travis Graves and Clay Tryan are another fiery team right there at the top, going toe-to-toe with Smith/Brazil and Corkill/Driggers making an exciting race.  However, the lower echelon of the leader board is weighted with gunners. Charlie Crawford is a salty header, and Russell Cardoza is a sharp-shooting heeler, young gun who works three events.  Both are trying hard to make the cut.  Together they made the Finals last year, but can Russell do it this time without the steady spin of his ex-partner, “Consistent-Charlie Crawford“?  I’ve also got my eye on Ceazar de la Cruz, Dugan Kelly, Rich Skelton, Broc Hanson, Derrick Begay, Arky Rogers, and Manny Egusquiza Jr., to name a few. 

Manny Egusquiza Jr. is a first time guy, who hasn’t had much notoriety.  He’s never been to the finals, but he ropes and rides really good.  He comes out of the east, where nothing grows, and maybe I identify with him culturally, but he seems like a nice guy (like Paul Eves who heels for Dustin Bird), who’s out there working his ass off, just like all the rest.  I know the price they’re paying, so it’s hard to pick a favorite.  I want to see them all succeed, unfortunately, they only take the top 15.   

Thanks to modern technology, I can dial up my iphone and check the rodeos that are significant and follow the course of each of my buds.  After every weekend I check the rodeo stats to see who did what, so I plan to keep you posted.  Until next time… 

That’s all I know,

Rope Smart!

The Lion

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Frank Santos - 1950 Buckle

While attending the Salinas California Rodeo, competing in the Gold Card team roping, I visited with a bunch of my comrades (old and new), which I enjoy doing very much these days, since I’ve semi-retired from the rodeo business.  Along the fence I bumped into a young all-around cowboy/friend of mine, Lane Santos, who is just starting out in the professional rodeo world.  He told me he was there, roping with his uncle Blaine (Santos) in the team roping, and when I asked him about the calf roping, he gave a reason that I immediately remembered having once myself. 

Frank Santos, DVM
Back in the day, before I’d gone pro, I wanted to compete at Salinas, except nobody could work Salinas on a permit (anymore).  Salinas stopped taking permits (around 1959 or 60) and I told Lane he had his grandfather to thank for that.  I explained, they stopped taking permits because the last time they let a guy compete on a permit he beat ‘em up so bad, there wasn’t a pro left standing.”   The pros used to let all the young guys in that they could, to build the purse, until one time they got their tits in a ringer.  Them old pros had never heard of a young gun, named Frank Santos, who was getting a college education.  He was putting himself through school by working rodeos on a permit.  As a result of the Frank Santos massacre, the pros vowed, never again would they allow themselves to be slaughtered by someone on a permit.  Hence, they stopped accepting permits.

In mentioning his grandpa, Lane pointed over my shoulder.  Low and behold, there sat Frank Santos on his horse, carrying his rope and ready to do battle.  Frank was up in the Gold Card.  I walked over and told him I was just talking to his grandson letting him know he had his papa to thank for not being able to compete here on his permit. 

I also shared with Frank a discussion I had earlier with Martin Lucero.  Martin asked me how long I’d been coming to Salinas, and when I did the math on that (1968 to 2012), I summed up 44 yrs straight I’d been working Salinas.  With that, I told Frank, “I ought to be the oldest guy coming here.” 

Frank quickly set me straight with an historical story.  He clarified that he was the oldest guy competing there (he’s 3/4s of a century old), and then said, “But I can tell you one better than that.  I bet you can‘t find anybody a horseback competing today that is wearing a Salinas buckle dated 1950.” 

In that instant, amidst my thoughts about whether they even gave buckles back then, I glanced toward his belt and noticed, sure enough, he was wearing that distinguished Salinas Champion “1950” buckle. 

Frank’s first time at Salinas, he was 12 years old competing in the Junior Stock Horse class (in 1950).  Today, Frank was competing in the Gold Card as strong and as fierce a competitor as any of us.  He’s been my hero since back before I competed pro, my hero and my mentor.  To see and listen to his rodeo wisdom as the years go by is astounding.  He continues, still, to go at it with a subtle, yet eminent flame of desire to win and is still very capable of beating any of us.  Frank depicts the true spirit of rodeo-cowboy heroism, and vast over-sight has left him not yet inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, but he’s definitely at the forefront of my personal Rodeo Hall of Fame.  

The point of my story, however, is that Salinas belt buckles have been famous throughout rodeo.  Trevor Brazil has won championship buckles at most major rodeos, but only just this year won his first Salinas belt buckle, which he told me was a significant achievement to him.  Some of us have been fortunate enough to win buckles at Salinas, and I bet there’s not one who doesn’t cherish that award as a lifetime dream.  Still, to be competing for another Salinas buckle in 2012 while wearing a Salinas buckle from 1950--are you kidding me?  That’s an impressive, unique feat that only one guy in the world can claim.

That’s all I know…

Rope Smart!

The Lion

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thanks Leo!
 "Of all the clinics I've been to--and I've been to them all (Jake/Clay, Walt, Alan Bach, Ricky Green, etc.), Leo's theory and instruction was the only that was truly effective and actually taught me how to catch.  I learned more in one day with Leo than all of the others combined."
Dale Wagner

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Lion in the Desert

My name is John and I’m a roping snowbird who has made his way south for some winter-time roping.  I, like many, come out of the north to take advantage of the Arizona warmth, bask in the sun, and revel in the many roping festivities.  Thirsting for a unique experience I was intrigued by an ad I saw about the World Champion Roper, Leo Camarillo, and his training camp in Maricopa.  Curious to see what he was all about I ventured in and here’s what I saw.

Leo Camarillo, “The Lion” is definitely not for the faint of heart.  All work and no play, he gives 100 percent of his effort and expects nothing less in return.  Weather a seasoned competitor or a recreational novice he schools each student with military seriousness, discipline and high expectation.  He’s gruff, direct, brutally honest, and relentless.  When you enter the gates of his territory be prepared to work and check your ego at the door, for he will devour it whole. 

I’m currently a #5 heeler on a recent winning streak.  With a little extra change in my pocket I enlisted in “The Lion’s Camp” (Maricopa, AZ) just to see what I might be missing,  I’d heard a lot of hype about this “World Champion” and I was hoping for a few pointers to increase my speed, polish my delivery, and lock in my consistency. 

He approached me unassumingly, introduced himself and got right to business.  Uninterested in my current number rating, anything I’ve won, or why I was even there, he immediately began putting me through the motions of a beginner, a novice to the whole idea of “team” roping.  He pressed me into his 10-step building blocks which seemed elementary, impossibly slow and frankly a waste of my time.  I’ve been roping and competing for many years, and my own style is so second-nature to me I don’t need to methodically think about each move anymore.  I just need to think about speed. 

Though his 10 steps seemed tedious and futile, I complied with his commands.  The more I cooperated the more foreign things began to feel.  I was getting tripped up, feeling awkward and more set back, as he persisted.  He drilled me over and over and over, and yes, slowly my new skills began to come together.  I could sense his subtle acceptance was starting to emerge.  Though few and far from praise, his discrete approvals were rewarding, and I was soon determined to master his challenge. 

Putting it all in motion was another can of frustrating worms.  Not only did I have to manage all 10 of my thumbs, I was paced at little more than a crawl and I could not control my spastic reactions, nor my horse‘s. 

The cattle I rope today are fast. Give me speed and I can catch, no problem.  But under the Lion’s eye at a snail’s pace I could not catch a cold.  I was getting annoyed.  I was there for speed pointers, not his control nonsense.  And I certainly did not need his condescending criticism.  The more tangled I got, the more quiet he got.  Could he see I needed help?  Certainly.  But his lacking verbal direction was replaced with what felt like searing observation.  As I fumbled along occasionally he’d throw me a helpful bone of advice which remarkably made all the difference, but why would he hold out for so long, watching me struggle when he could plainly see what I needed to fix? (my horsemanship, my approach, my timing, angle, delivery, etc.)

By the time the sun was setting I realized “the Lion’s” style of less-is-more.  His whole competitive-career has succeeded on his mindfulness.   

Beyond all his verbal and physical instruction what he developed most in me was my ability to think (for myself) about what I‘m doing or not doing.  Surprisingly, I was transforming.  My new and improved roping was beginning to thrive, almost instantly.  I was riding my horse more quietly and communicatively.  I was utilizing my new understanding of “team” dynamics in each run.  Though everything in my roping had been simplified my wiring had become so much more complex.  I began seeing and taking shots I never imagined and my overall ability felt invincible--clearer, stronger, smoother, sharper, reflexively quick.  I was getting pretty slick.  I could trust my shot.  After a full day of the Roping Lion’s boot camp my body was tired but my drive was exhilarated, eager for another go, fully equipped and ready for war.  My one full day with the Lion in the desert has inspired a lifetime of progress and continual growth to come.

Best of luck to all roping enthusiasts, especially those who choose to ignore the roar of the lion.  

Yours truly,