The Surry Community College golf team has added quite a bit of talent over the past six weeks. In light of the latest signee, the Knights might want to consider starting a rodeo team, too.
Rodeo and golf are polar opposites from each other, but that hasn’t kept Forbush senior Dylan Ray from excelling in both.
Ray, who has qualified nationally each of the past four seasons in high school rodeo, signed a letter of intent to play golf at SCC last week. While the Falcons’ senior has continued to hone his craft in the rodeo arena the last few years, he has quickly taken to the links as well. Having only played competitive golf for two years, Ray placed second overall in the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference as a senior.
“I have a tendency to pick up things pretty quick,” Ray said.
That’s certainly an understatement for a guy who has qualified nationally in the High School Rodeo every season since he started the sport four years ago. Ray has been a national qualifier for Team Roping each of the past four years. During the 2013-2014 campaign he placed 19th in the world in Rock Springs, Wyoming as a header. He followed that up by qualifying nationally as a heeler each of the past two years. Qualifying as both a header and heeler in succeeding years is very rare for a rodeo athlete.
“A header is somebody who ropes the head of the steer. It’s a team sport where somebody ropes the head and somebody ropes the two back feet. The heeler ropes the back feet,” Ray said. “If you have the concept down, it’s not that hard to be able to do both. It’s just a bunch of timing. Golf has timing too, so it’s sort of similar.”
Ray has also competed at the state level in events such as chute dogging, break-a-way roping and ribbon roping. He’s won numerous awards in the sport of rodeo and will continue to pursue rodeo competition as well as beginning his golf career at SCC.
“They’re pretty different extremes, but I love them both,” Ray said of the two sports. “I do like golf because it’s much more relaxed.”
Among those who are joining Ray on the Knights this fall are Surry Central’s Garrett Fletcher, who ranked in the WPAC’s top five at most of the conference’s meets this past season, North Surry’s lone 2016 senior Taylor Solomon, and Christopher Dorsett, who helped the Granite Bears take the 1A state championship earlier this month.
The fact that Ray even can compete in rodeo is an amazing accomplishment, considering the future Knight suffers from three different heart conditions.
“When I was a little kid I wanted to ride bulls and my mom told me I couldn’t because of my heart conditions. One is basically half a heart and if I have any pressure hit my chest it will basically make my chest open up and I will probably die,” Ray said. “A friend and I decided to go before the rodeo one evening, and after about three or four days I just picked it up and could do some things pretty decent. I just started going and here I am now.”
As a golfer, Ray said he has a long drive off the tee even though he doesn’t use a driver. The Forbush senior said he prefers to drive with a 3-Wood and “still hits the same distance as everybody else.” As for now, the East Bend cowboy doesn’t know what the future holds, but he plans to get a degree in welding at Surry and continue with both sports.
“I don’t know where golf will take me, but I’ve only been playing two years. I’m already shooting four-over-par and I’ve never had a lesson,” Ray said. “I think playing in college will help me a lot. I just need somebody to point me in the right direction and I can usually figure it out mostly.”