By Angela Peacock
At an age when most boys were riding stick horses, Dathan Garcia went for the real thing.
Dathan, 15, is a third-generation award-winning rodeo competitor who began competing at age 2, after his father Danny entered him into a team roping competition.
Danny used his horse to guide his infant son, who rode his own horse, in a competition that Danny said left him with a most cherished memory of his son.
“He’s been riding since he was a baby,” said Danny. “He had such good balance he could really go good at it. We actually won the event.”
That was just the start of Dathan’s winning way. Since beginning his rodeo career, Dathan has won a horse trailer, 15 saddles, ropes, jackets and over 50 belt buckles. He said being the best in any rodeo event takes dedication, a love for the sport and an understanding that, in the rodeo business, there is only one winner.
When Dathan isn’t practicing his calf roping, team roping or bull riding he can be found practicing for football, basketball or for FFA competitions — depending on the time of season. No matter what sport or activity Dathan participates in, he approaches it with the same attitude.
“I always try to stay competitive and try to be the best there is,” Dathan said. “I takes a lot of hard work if you want to be good. And hard work teaches you responsibility and builds character.”
Dathan was Texas’ High School Rookie of the Year in 2002. Though Dathan has already earned a name for himself at only age 15, he said he’ll never forget who taught him everything.
“My dad is my biggest inspiration. I’ve seen him do it for so long and he’s so good and I admire his love for the sport,” Dathan said of his father, who is the rodeo coach at Mesalands Community College.
“My grandfather was named a ‘Living Legend’ by the USTRCA Rodeo Association. My grandfather is 70 and he still ropes to this day.”
After high school Dathan plans to get his college education, but not without continuing to pursue is life long of dream of competing in a National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Despite Dathan’s successes his father said he hopes his son always remembers to show good sportsmanship to other competitors because in the rodeo business somebody always loses.
“More than anything, I hope Dathan doesn’t forget that without God he has nothing,” Danny said, “and that he always remembers to thank God for everything he has given him.”
Whether Dathan is working in the classroom on the field as a quarter back, running back, safety or linebacker. Logan football head coach Billy Burns said he always makes sound decisions.
“He’s a smart player,” Burns said, “the kind who does things right, and he’s the same type of kid off the field. Everything Dathan does he’s going to do it well.”
“He’s a winner — the kind of kid that you want to have on your team. He has a strong desire to win and be number one in everything he does, and through that he makes his teammates better.”