There are heavenly matches, and then there’s the tie that Shane Hanchey ties to his wife Taylor.
This was done in a pen.
Shane Hanchey met Taylor Jacob at the rodeo where they became friends. Then they became closer friends. Then, in April 2021, they got married.
They are now on a short list of husbands and wives who competed in the National Finals Rodeo that began Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Shane Hanchey, the 2013 tie-down roping champion, competes in his 13th NFR.
Taylor Hanchey competed in the barrel racing finals in 2013 and 2015. Last year she qualified for the National Finals Breakaway Roping and finished ninth in this year’s event at South Point Arena & Equestrian Center on Wednesday.
“We can’t always compete at the same rodeo,” said Taylor, the only Women’s Professional Rodeo Association cowgirl to qualify for two events in the national finals. “So to be able to compete in our Super Bowl together, that’s huge.”
Shane Hanchey said the pair often feel like ships sailing by in the night as they compete at different circuits with different schedules when ships were used to transport rode horses.
“There are some rodeos where we are together. But most of the time she’s already been there or coming after me,” said the 33-year-old veteran from Sulfur, Louisiana, who missed the calf on his first lap and settled for a 19.9-second time on Thursday-down roping the opening lap.
Despite Shane’s fate on opening night, the Hancheys are hoping to turn their NFR trip into a bus driver’s vacation.
The Thanksgiving dinner was pushed back to Wednesday because the two agreed to host a clinic at the New Mexico State campus in Las Cruces beginning Friday. The game was scheduled to reach Wickenburg, Arizona in time for Saturday’s televised college football game kickoff between Shane’s Louisiana State Tigers and Taylor’s Texas A&M Aggies.
Then on Sunday it was on to Las Vegas for separate national finals.
“Once you get going, it’s like herding cats,” Shane said of traveling to Las Vegas with a spouse in the passenger seat and five horses in the trailer.
“I get a lot more nervous when she ropes than I do… but she gives me more advice than I’m likely to give her. Often we don’t even come back to the (hotel) room before we’ve talked about what she saw, what I felt and vice versa.”
In addition to being her husband’s biggest fan, Taylor is also responsible for the family finances. Which can be more difficult than lassoing a playful calf.
“You don’t know how much you’re going to win, you don’t know what the fuel prices are going to be or anything. So it’s really hard to budget for,” she said. “Whatever you win at the finals is usually your win for the year.”
After a slow start to the Breakaway Finals, Taylor clinched a go-round win on day two of competition to add another $5,956 bottom line to the pair.
With each round paying almost $29,000 for a win in the more lucrative NFR and the winner taking another $74,150 after 10 appearances, Shane keeps an eye on cashing early and often.
He also has to hope that LSU can improve their defense. It’s a 20-hour drive back to the family ranch in Carmine, Texas, and a certain A&M fan riding along might be in for some serious gossip after the Aggies’ 38-23 win.