JS man ropes his way into the big leagues

PHOTO PROVIDED Troy Musser wears a shirt with the word “believer” on the collar.

JERSEY SHORE — It took hard work and dedication but one local man has achieved quite a lot in the past year in the rodeo world.

Troy Musser was recently named the American Professional Rodeo Association’s Roping Rookie of the Year for 2017 and the Jersey Shore native couldn’t be happier.

Troy is 52 years old and recently retired from his job at T.A. Musser’s, a company that helps build businesses, hospitals etc. in the area, to attempt something many might have deemed impossible.

“I was told by so many people, ‘you can’t do this at your age,'” Troy said. “But I bought horses, hired the best help and basically roped 12 hours a day from January until the tour started.”

With the help of a very well known trainer in the rodeo world Troy was able to accomplish a lot. Joe Beaver also referred to as Joe B. In the Mid States Rodeo Association Finals and American Pro Rodeo Finals, they only take the top 12 from each division. Troy accomplished this as a team roper for both.

“Having Joe Beaver in your corner is like having Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a NASCAR instructor or Joe Montana in football,” he said about his trainer’s amazing talent.

Joe, an eight- time roping champion, operates clinics and private instructions out of Buck Daniels Ranch in Okeechobee, Fla. and Troy traveled there to do some of his training. He also did much of his training at an arena on River Road in Jersey Shore which some locals call ‘the old llama barn’, to train for his roping.

Troy participates in Team Roping where two contestants must catch a steer; one person is called a ‘header’, their job is to rope the animal’s horns and steer the animal so that the second person, the ‘heeler’, can rope it’s back legs. The time clock in this event stops once both ropers have made a catch and brought the animal to a stop.

His partner, Ty Parkinson, works well with Troy. Ty is an Australian on a five year work visa so he can compete on the American rodeo circuit. He was also named All Around Cowboy of the Year which Troy was thrilled to hear about.

Recently, the two competed in the American Finals Rodeo in Atlantic City, N.J., on Oct. 21 and 22, where they did as well as expected.

During the finals only the top 12 from each division had a chance to show their roping skills in the two ‘go arounds’.

In the ‘go arounds’ that Troy and Ty participated in they earned second place in the first one and averaged fourth overall.

“It just shows never give up on your dreams,” Troy said about his success in the rodeo world. He has the word ‘believer’ on the collar of the shirts he wears during rodeos and that’s very symbolic for him. He believes that people should always try their hardest when it comes to what they want to accomplish.

Making money in the world of roping isn’t very easy. With the expenses involved and all the travel it ends up costing Troy quite a lot. However, whatever he does make, Troy has been donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“I came from a single mom and fairly low-income home,” he explained. “But I’m fortunate enough to have made it pretty big in the corporate world. Now I’m doing what I love and, in turn, helping out an organization that can really use it.”

Next year he plans on donating all of his funds to the Shriner’s Club, where he’s a 32nd Degree Mason.

Outside of the rodeo world Troy is very active in the community. Although he is retired he owns or is a part of three different businesses in the area. He owns the Gamble Farm Inn, on Main Street in Jersey Shore, he is one of three business partners in the Nippenose Valley Village and owns the Williamsport Grandview Hotel. He’s also still involved in T.A. Musser’s but not as much since his retirement last November.

He also has some pretty big plans for ‘the old llama barn’ where he does most of his training. He mentioned that he plans on having a few rodeos there, adding that the Kiwanis Club in Jersey Shore would also like to get involved. He also plans on having a few roping sessions and other rodeo related activities planned for handicapped children in the area.

A big motivator for that particular aspect of his planning came from his experiences on the rodeo circuit.

He explained that at the rodeos he attended, after they said a prayer and after the National Anthem was played, a Make-a-Wish Foundation child or another individual who thought they’d never be able to participate in shows such as those would get to ride a member of the rodeo’s horse out into the arena.

Seeing that really resonated with him and he’d love to give back to those individuals and help them accomplish something they never thought they’d be able to do.

Troy would also like to thank some of his big sponsors for helping him accomplish all he did this season; Jersey Shore State Bank, who helped fund the travel costs, Ruben Saddles, for providing the saddles he and Ty needed, and The Tack Room, who supplied them with a lot the gear that was needed to participate.