Tuf Cooper stresses the importance of letting only positive messages fuel his mind and body

Tie-down roper Tuf Cooper of Decatur, TX takes a victory lap at the Calgary Stampede at Stampede Park in Calgary, AB Canada. Cooper won the day with a time of 6.4.


Elite Rodeo Association (ERA) Athlete and Tie-Down Roper, Tuf Cooper, is known for wearing his ear phones to help him focus before competitions, so we started wondering, “What is on Tuf Cooper’s playlist.” You would guess that he would have a play list worth of Jock Jams, but his answer will probably shock you and make you like him even more.

“I want to warn you, I kinda have weird music taste because I don’t listen to your typical pre-game or practice music. My Uncle Stran (Smith) taught me a lot about the importance of letting only positive messages fuel my mind and body. That is why I make it a point to not listen to music that has a negative message or influence. I know it is strange, but I find that is really helps me focus and perform better when I control what my mind is being fed … I really believe it matters.”

So what song was he listening to that day? “Feel So Close,” which is a song by Scottish recording artist Calvin Harris on his album 18 Months.

 Check out the music video here:

Tuff also listens to Pandora radio and has several channels that are his favorites. He sent over a couple of screen shots of what Pandora Radio Stations he was listening to that day, which included Johnny Cash, I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll, Willie Nelson, Classical, Blake Shelton, Blues, Christian Radio and Levels radio stations.

“We have a speaker system in our practice pen and everyone gets to listen to whatever they want, but when it is my turn to rope the classical music goes on and it helps me get in the zone. I love it and they hate it!” says Cooper.

His approach might not be traditional, but with 3 World Championships to his name at only 25 years old, this ERA athlete is writing his own book on how mental preparation should be valued.

When I talked to Tuf he also said, “I watch a lot of motivational videos. I would say I watch about 80% motivational videos and 20% music videos. Some of his favorites are, “I know this might sound weird, but I really like all of Arnold Schwarzeneggerr’s videos. My favorite is Tyrese (actor / singer). He always has a good message and he loves the Lord and I try to follow him. I also like Ted Talks on you tube. They are stories about peoples lives and motivational speeches.”

Just like how I try to listen to positive music while I practice and compete, I try to fuel my mind with positive messages that are uplifting and motivate me. You are what you fuel yourself with and that is a mind, body and spirit experience.