Johnny Emmons knows he’s filling some pretty big boots.
Emmons takes over for Mike Brown this season as head coach of the Weatherford College rodeo team. He served as Brown’s assistant for the past seven years.
“I’ve been wanting it for seven years, and now I’ve got it and I’m scared,” said Emmons with a smile. “Mike brought it from a club sport to where it is today.”
Of course, Emmons helped the progression. In each of his seven seasons as an assistant, the Coyotes were represented at the National College Finals Rodeo.
“He’s ready,” said Brown. “He’s learning a lot. Johnny’s got enough experience to keep us going strong.”
Brown, 60, retired from coaching to devote full-time to teaching agriculture.
“I left [the program] better than I found it,” said Brown. “All these miles will wear a guy out. It was a good time for me to go. We were going to hire a new ag teacher, and I just told them to give more to me. It worked out pretty well, because I also knew Johnny was ready to take over.
“I get to just go home and watch my granddaughters play softball and basketball.”
Emmons, 45, can relate to Brown’s reasoning. He came to Weatherford College after competing in professional rodeo as a roper for two decades — and with considerable success.
“My father passed away and my oldest daughter was starting high school that year,” said Emmons. “I wanted to stay home, but I needed to rope for a living. Then Mike called and I had a chance to get a real job.”
Emmons, who grew up in Mansfield, started roping at age 10 and first competed at age 12.
“I knew right away I wanted to be in rodeo,” he said.