Rigby, Idaho’s Cassie (Bahe) Latham, 24, originally from Grantsville, Utah, is the No.1 cowgirl in the WPRA breakaway roping world standings and has been since her big win at the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo. She graduated from Utah State University in December of 2019 with a degree in biological engineering. She is putting aside the job search to pursue the rodeo trail, alongside her younger sister Anna 23, in the breakaway roping.
Kaitlin Gustave: Besides being on the breakaway roping rodeo trail, do you work?
Cassie Latham: Nope! Breakaway roping is my job.
KG: You were the first woman to ever win the breakaway at Fort Worth. How surreal is that?
CL: That was amazing. Probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. Even now I’ll look at pictures from then and that whiskey bottle that is engraved is in my living room, and I think, “WOW! That actually happened.”
KG: Looking back on that moment what was going on through your head during that final round?
CL: I just knew that I had to get out good and throw when I had my first shot. It all worked out. I was the first girl out, so I was kind of setting the pace for everyone. There were a whole lot of fast times after me but they had broken barriers. I just can’t believe that It happened. My sister was in it too, so that actually takes a lot of the nervous out. Instead of sitting back there watching I was helping to keep her calf’s head straight. We rode the same horse, too, so we were busy switching stirrups and stuff like that.
KG: How handy is it to have your sister on the road with you?
CL: It’s awesome. I mean sisters fight and we do have out little blowups every now and then but for the most part it’s great. We grew up practicing together and most of the time my dad will come with us, too. He’s basically like our coach. It’s just been awesome to make it a family deal between us.
KG: Tell me a little more about Roy, the horse you won Fort Worth on.
CL: Roy is 13. He came from my grandpa and uncle’s ranch. They bred him. My dad had a nice, old head horses and my cousins needed a head horse at the time so they traded the head horse for Roy when he was two. We’ve had him ever since. We started him and he’s been awesome.
KG: Are you two still riding the same horse now?
CL: Up until a little after Fort Worth I had a young horse (Smokey, 6) and he just wasn’t ready so we rode the same horse for a couple years before Fort Worth while I was getting my horse ready. Now that he’s been ready I’ve been taking him to all of the ProRodeos that have been going on recently, and he’s actually been doing really good so I think I’ll just stick to riding my young horse now and Anna will be on Roy.
KG: Does Roy or Smokey have any recognizable bloodlines on either of their papers?
CL: Neither of them actually have papers. Roy’s dad was a well-bred cutting horse that was papered and my grandpa just bred him to a mare he had on the ranch, so it wasn’t a papered mare. It was just a mare that he liked there. My horse Smokey—my dad had this horse that bucked every time that you got on him so we were like, ‘We’re not going to deal with that.’ So, I talked to a guy in Twin Falls (Idaho) and I traded that horse that bucks a lot for Smokey when he was two. It was just what I could get with a bucking horse.
KG: Because of that big win you are now and have been the No.1 lady in the world standings. That must feel pretty cool?
CL: People that I didn’t even know were following breakaway came up to me and would say, ‘Congrats! You’re No.1 in the world. That’s so cool.’ Even my cousins or little girls around there are like, ‘You need to teach me how to breakaway rope,’ and stuff like that.
KG: You may be No.1 but you do have a 19-time world champion coming after you in the No. 2 spot in the world standings. Do you give any thought to that?
CL: Jackie Crawford being second place is kind of scary. She ropes so well and the girls in the top 15 are tough. It’s really awesome that we get to kind of compete at that level now. I would compete against Jackie Crawford once a year, if that. Now we’re competing against her everywhere we go which is pretty cool. She’s always been one of my idols.
KG: Who has been a major influence on your roping?
CL: Definitely my dad. He taught me basically everything I know—how to train horses, how to rope, the start, everything. He’s been right there with us the whole time.
KG: What challenges do you find with your roping that you have to work on constantly?
CL: I feel like there’s new things every couple months. You just have to stay up and on it and rope the dummy because bad habits can be created so easily. The most recent thing that I’m working on is when I’m throwing it’s not with my tip. I’m trying to speed up my last swing just trying to be fast when I just need to finish that swing to rope the calf. A couple months from now it could be a different thing.
KG: What does the future of breakaway look like to you?
CL: I would love to run a calf in the Thomas & Mack. I think that would be really cool if breakaway got to the NFR.
KG: What’s in your rope can right now?
CL: I actually have three ropes that I need to take out because I know I’ll never swing them when I have one real rodeo rope. I have some strings and a little baby powder.