Accident victim had passion for roping

Jared Tucker

“It’s a blessing to me, because he died happy,” Sabra Gorrell said Tuesday about her son’s death Thursday while practicing roping in Carlsbad.

Steven Watson, 26, of Portales died when he collided with a cat-walk while riding a horse at a high rate of speed, Gorrell said, adding police told her Watson died instantly.

Gorrell said her son was moving calves down an alley at the Eddy County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, when one of the calves turned back and Watson gave chase. Gorrell said her son had to duck down when he went under the cat-walk the first time, but forgot about it when he chased the calf.

“I know my son, he was not going to let that calf get the best of him,” Gorrell said.

Gorrell said her son was well-liked around the community, and everywhere he went. Though he was quiet, she said, if Watson made friends with a person, they were friends for life.

Watson’s employer, Roy Creamer of Slash X Ranch in Carlsbad, echoed Gorrell’s comments about Watson’s personality, and his passion for roping.

“Steven is a magnetic type of person, and it’s an experience to become aquatinted with him … whatever he did, good or bad, he did it 100 percent,” Creamer said.

Creamer said the cat-walk was used years ago, but was un-hooked and no longer in use.

“They’ve had a dangerous situation at that arena for years and years,” Creamer said.

As a child, Gorrell said, Watson was a typical boy raised in Causey who was into everything, and his passion for roping started around the time he entered grade school.

“He was always trying to rope things. He’d rope his sisters, he’d rope his dog, he was always roping stuff. I think he was just born with it,” Gorrell said.

Funeral services for Steven Watson are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Wheeler Mortuary in Portales. Visitation is at the mortuary from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.