Brown brothers rope in awards

July 29, 1999

Brown brothersBy GREG SIMMONS / Staff Writer

photo: MARLA BROSE / staff photographer

The Brown brothers grew up around the rodeo. Now they live it.

Keith, Kevin and Kenny Brown are team ropers on a semi-professional basis. They rope and live on the family ranch on Keedysville Road.

[cont. from lifestyle]

Their father, Ken Brown Sr., used to run a rodeo company, which is how the brothers grew to love the sport, according to their mother, Dotty Brown.

The three brothers helped their father and mother run the business until 1987, when the senior Brown died.

Now the brothers team rope every weekend, practicing at home after work. Keith, 26, and Kevin, 30, will take their horses about a mile down the road Sunday to the Washington County Agricultural Education Center to rope steer at the Ag Expo.


In competition, steer are put in a gate and released into the ring. Once a steer has an 8-foot head start, two riders on horseback gallop behind the fleeing steer.

The lead rider will throw a rope around the steer's horns, bringing it under control. The second rider then will throw a rope under the steer's hind legs, pulling them up into the air while making a perfect line from rider to steer to rider.

Once that is done, and depending on the conditions of the show ring, some riders can have a steer roped in six seconds, Kenny says.

Kenny is the most vocal of the brothers. At 37, he's won 200 belt buckles, 30 saddles and a $4,400 cash prize he split in 1997 at Pendlenton, Ore.

Between them, Kevin and Keith have won 20 saddles and 150 belt buckles.

Many rodeo organizers give large, decorative belt buckles with the name of the rodeo engraved on the face. Some have precious stones, mainly ruby inlays.

The brothers are each registered in three sanctioned rodeo associations, allowing them to compete in a variety of rodeos across the United States.

Two weekends ago, they rode in four places in three days.

In their other lives, Kevin owns a small home-improvement business and Keith helps out. They used to rodeo full time with prize money as their only income, Kevin says.

"I just think they're exciting. Every year the prize money increases," Kevin says.

Kevin says it isn't hard to put 100,000 miles a year on a truck driving to and from rodeos. Horses cost $5,000 each. And they need steers to practice steer roping at $300 each.

Kevin and Keith practice two to three nights a week with their seven steer, which weigh about 500 pounds each.

The whole family comes out to help practice. Dotty herds the cattle into the gate, and Kenny runs the gate. When Kenny releases the steer from the gate, Keith and Kevin bolt after them with lassos twirling in the air.

Once the dust settles, they ride their horses back to the gate to rope another steer.

Kenny says for his brothers to win Sunday night, the horses have to work right, and the steer have to work right.

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