|Age (at audition)||20|
Cowboy Nolan Leach of New Braunfels began performing his trick roping routine at the age of 12, but even before that, he was good with a rope. "I had done some calf roping before," the 17-year-old said.
But at a San Antonio Stock Show rodeo in the late-1990s, Nolan was enthralled with performer Kevin Fitzpatrick's artful and tricky swirling of a rope. "I went home and the next day I just started messing around with a rope," he said, explaining his initial steps that have led him into a career.
As a 12-year-old, some of his guidance came from some professionals, including Fitzpatrick and Jerry Diaz. With his unique talent, Nolan performed in front of a crowd for the first time at age 12. They loved it; and he loved it.
At the age of 14, Nolan's "dream" of owning a wild mustang became a reality. In the fall of 2002, at a Bureau of Land Management adoption event in Glen Rose, Nolan adoped a 3-year-old stud which he named Bravo. "That was the best $170 I've ever spent," Nolan said.
At the Leach's 80-acre place near New Braunfels, Nolan began training Bravo. "On the first training session, Nolan laid the horse down using a trust-based relationship for the training that would follow," shared Eric Leach, Nolan's brother.
Bravo was gelded about six months after being adopted. Nolan continued training him to be used in the trick roping performances. Just six months after training began, Nolan and Bravo were a featured act in the play TEXAS, performed in Palo Duro Canyon. Then, at age 16, Nolan traveled with Bravo to perform at the largest horse show in Europe, the Stockholm International Horse Show.
Eric is Nolan's business manager, agent, and choreographs the shows, which can include everything from cracking bull whips to popping pistols. His sister Cara helps by assisting with horse care, loading gear in the trailer, etc.
Nolan's father, Philip Leach, has a background in agriculture and has worked as a farrier, but now works as a pilot. Philip's connections in Europe is what helped get Nolan the gig at the big horse show.
The trick roping career hasn't been all smooth sailing. Nolan said he has thrown his shoulder out, been kicked in the head, and even kicked in the knee by another horse, right before a performance. 1
Nolan Leach's audition in Episode 303 consisted of swinging a rope while standing on his horse, backflipping of his horse onto the floor, and then performing some more rope tricks before hopping back on his horse. Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff buzzed the act. At least two judges voted "No", eliminating Nolan from the competition.
https://youtu.be/oJv_jDkW_ms < audition