In the arena, it's all about skill, strength and concentration, but to get there, a rodeo cowboy has to be his own trainer, coach and business manager.
To stay there, he has to keep winning.
"That's the hardest thing to learn, really. It's not the roping part or the rodeo part, it's management of the whole thing," team roper Travis Tynan said.
Behind the chutes, you'll often find Tynan surrounded by his wife, Hillary, and children Payten, 2, and Riley, 5. His family travels with him most of the year, living out of a trailer, but wouldn't have it any other way.
"Yep, I like going. We like getting to be around him, and he's a great dad and he'd miss the girls and we have fun," wife Hillary Tynan said.
"Our families have to sacrifice a lot. Times can be really good and better than ever than a steady job and then things can be worse than ever," Tomball roper Huston Hutto said.
Hutto is still learning to juggle his job and family. He and his wife, Lindsay, are newlyweds.
"It is, it's tough. I mean you miss them, but you have to stay out there. You're trying to support them at the end of the year, you have to stay hooked," Huston Hutto said.
Lindsay Hutto can't travel because of her job, so the couple is separated much of the year.
Huston Hutto is one of the top-ranked ropers in the country, but he finished out of the money Tuesday. He'll try again Wednesday night with Lindsay Hutto cheering him on.
"This is his passion, and I fully, 100% support him," wife Lindsay Hutto said.
The payoff for contestants and their families is simply the chance to compete in the sport they love.