Rodeo tests skill and speed of op tech cowboy

By day, Joe James performs calibrations and checks plates on natural gas measurement equipment as an operations technician for Williams. On the weekends – mostly in the summer months – he’s roping calves at rodeos throughout the Rocky Mountains competing in tie-down roping events.

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Joe James competing in the Mountain States Circuit Finals in Loveland, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Bobwire-S.com.

This year, Joe qualified for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Mountain States Circuit Finals in Loveland, Colorado, that took place in October.

“To qualify for the MSCF rodeo, at the end of the season, they take the top 12 competitors in each event to compete at the circuit finals,” Joe says. “You also have to participate in 25 rodeos in the circuit to qualify.”

Joe’s supervisor Todd Skalberg compliments Joe’s ability to successfully manage his work in the Wamsutter gathering area of Wyoming and schedule his vacation days and weekends to attend the rodeos in different states throughout the Rockies.

“Our Wamsutter Measurement team was developed to better serve the needs of our customers and to meet the tighter and tighter expectations of the federal regulations,” Todd says. “We have given this team the latitude to work flexible schedules, which promotes a strong work-life balance culture.”

Joe adds, “Being part of the gas measurement team has been a great job. Being able to plan out our own work schedule and knowing what the workload looks like per month is a great benefit to working for Williams.”

Growing up in Rawlins, Wyoming, Joe started competing in rodeos when he was a sophomore in high school. He grew up ranching and was intrigued with roping calves. The tie-down roping competition involves riding a horse, roping the calf, stepping off the horse and running down the rope flank to tie the calf. And of course this has to be done really fast – fastest time wins.

Joe’s wife competes in barrel racing and his son is getting the fever to join the family sport.

Joe finished third in the third round of the Mountain States Circuit Finals.

“The experience was as great as I had hoped it would be,” Joe says.

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