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Meet 10-Year-Old Jr. NFR Team Roping Champion: Michael Calmelat!

He’s How Old?!? Meet 10 Year Old Michael Calmelat!

If you’re a team roper and have not heard of the name Little Michael Calmelat you must not be getting out enough. Because this 10 year old is wicked good and probably has won more than you and your buddies combined (averaging over 20 saddles and buckles). I was lucky enough to be able to interview Little Michael about some of his accomplishments that were made at such a young age.

Coming from the small town of Marana, Az this kid has made quite a name for himself at just 10 years old. When talking to his mother Rachel, she mentioned that Michael has been holding a rope since he was able to walk. She says that he started out with just a string and quickly outgrew that and was then switched to a play rope. He would always rope the Cowboy Toy or anyone’s feet that just happened to be walking by.

JR.NFR Champion Heeler

At the age of 5 years old he was ready to compete and that’s when he got his first horse “Chico”. From that day forward there was no holding this kid back! He craves roping more than anyone and by a young age became a threat to the older team ropers.  At 7 years old Lil Michael was sitting as a 4 heeler and man were people shocked when they realized that the 7 year old was out roping them.

In the year 2016 (still only 7 years old) Little Michael won the incentive average at the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo association finals! And yes, you did read that correctly! As well as winning 2 USTRC ropings at Lado Del Sol in December of 2016. The following year at the age of 8 years old he won his very first trailer. Although he still may not be able to pull it for another 6 years, it was a great win for someone so young!

This past year right before leaving for the Jr.NFR, Calmelat was bumped to an elite 6 heeler.  Which was much needed, Lil Michael and his partner Ty Woods won the average and the open World Championships for a payout of $2,680 each. Little Michael was also awarded an NFR jacket, saddle and a World Champion buckle…he had just turned 10.

Laso Del Sol 2016

And if that wasn’t enough for ya. In February of 2019, after winning a  world champion title he went on to win a 4 horse living quarters. To follow that, in March of 2019 he won the #11 Finals.


Calmelat and his new 4 Horse Living Quarters that he won. (2019)

This kid has got it going on and a large support system behind him at every roping. Thanks to his sponsors Cactus ropes, Cactus Gear, Usher Brand, Wrangler, CSI Saddle Pads and Hays Trailer Sales for ensuring that Little Michael and his horse Chico are always in style and roping with the best products! He hopes to one day make it to the NFR and all I have to say is I will not be surprised when I see him there. Keep it up, Michael!


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Sarah Serrano-Smith is a native Arizonan, who comes from a competitive rodeo family. She is planning to graduate with her degree in Agriculture Business and a minor in Journalism. In her free-time she enjoys competing at rodeos and jackpots.

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