ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Qualifying in the Texas State High School Finals Rodeo is a tall task for any high schooler, juggling both rodeo and school work. But for one team roper, he’s not only juggling rodeo and school- but a blossoming music career, as well.
It wasn’t all that long ago that names like Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey were on dance hall billboards, headlining as the ‘original singing cowboys.’ As country music has evolved, the combination of the two has been lost, aside from greats like George Strait, who has an illustrious rodeo career on the side.
For one Carrizo Springs teenager, he is bringing back the art of the singing cowboy. 16-year-old Garrett Talamantes is a decorated team roper, Vice President of the Texas High School Rodeo Association (THSRA) and has been an ‘A’ Honor Roll student since elementary school. He has also qualified for the state finals in roping each of the last five years.
What really separates Talamantes from the other kids competing- is his voice. His singing voice, rang through the Taylor Telecom Arena Tuesday morning, as he sang the National Anthem during the grand entrance of the rodeo finals.
“I’ve always loved singing, ever since I was a little kid,” Talamantes recalled. “It only started becoming a real thing when I was 12.”
It was chilling. Goosebumps appeared on those who listened, as an unreal talent was handed the microphone. But, he’s not just a talented singer.
“Shortly after I started singing, I learned to play the guitar and that really took my music career up another notch,” Talamantes said. “I play almost every weekend. I think almost every weekend of this year has been booked.”
The musician can rope a steer with the best of them, an event passed down through his family, but singing was not.
“I mean, my dad can’t carry a tune to save his life, so I don’t really know where I get it from,” Talamantes said.
On his grandmother’s side, the teenager said there could be a distant relationship between him and Tejano singer Bobby Pulido.
While there isn’t much of a familial connection musically, Talamantes said he sees a strong connection between the work ethic needed to be an elite team roper and a country music artist.
“You have to put your everything into it, you have to practice day in and day out,” Talamantes said. “Just like in roping, you have to be sold to the music industry, too.”
At 16 years old, Talamantes juggles two more years of school, roping and a musical career, with a life-changing decision to be made in the near future.
“The truth is I really can’t decide,” Talamantes revealed. “I’d like to continue rodeoing, but I’d like to take my music career to the next level.”
For the time being, Talamantes said he’s content knowing he could be the next Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey or George Strait, and will juggle the rest for as long as he can.
Talamantes released his debut single, Southern Land, this year, honoring his great grandfather and the work he put into their property in South Texas. You can find his music on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music.
Talamantes also said he plans to release a new single on July 1.