A passion is described as a powerful or compelling emotion. Do you have passion? Are you really passionate enough to leave everything that is familiar to you to chase your dream? Your native country? Your culture? Your family? The love of your life? One Brazilian cowboy left all those behind to pursue his dreams, and discovered with faith, hard work and a good mentor, dreams do come true.
“I would do it all again. It is worth the price; calf roping is my passion,” claims 2017 PRCA World Champion Tie-down Roper Marcos Costa.
Costa had first moved away from his family when he was 14 to Sao Paolo, Brazil’s largest city, to help train horses and learn to rope. As one of six children, it made sense for him to move away to be with the horses he was passionate about and start earning some money. Fast forward nine years, and he made another move, this time to another country.
A Journey of Faith Leads to a Mentor
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail,” according to Proverbs 19:21.
Although Costa’s journey was one of many miles, it was also one of faith — all part of what he calls “God’s plan for his life.” With a strong upbringing in a Christian home, Costa credits his parents for teaching him the value of going to church and being a good person.
“We grew up very poor, and we always went to God. My mom and dad always said that was the best way and they were right. When you put God in front of everything, everything falls into place,” he said.
And putting his faith in God is what led Costa to Stran Smith, 2008 World Champion Roper and fellow Christian. Smith along with Tuf and Clif Cooper traveled to Sao Paolo in March 2013, where Costa first met the American ropers. According to Costa, Smith saw something in his talent and determination, and encouraged him to learn English, get his Visa and save up to come to the U.S. to train to become a world champion roper.
“If anybody can pick somebody from another country to bring to the U.S. and to train and say, you are going to be a world champion, I don’t think they would pick me because of all my injuries. I don’t have nothing. I don’t know how to go to rodeos and do everything else. And for that to happen in three years. That’s why I say it is God’s plan because Stran is man of God. He saw potential in me and believed in me,” Costa said.
The Making of a Champion
Smith was true to his word and started mentoring Costa as soon as he arrived in Texas in November 2013. With four knee surgeries under his belt and starting life in a new country, Costa and Smith had devised a plan for Costa to win the World Championship in five years. It took lots of work, continual fighting of knee injuries and therapy and the will to never give up. Within two years, Costa qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo.
“When I first came, I don’t speak any English. I didn’t know nothing about America, just from watching TV, and I start working hard and learn the process and the past few years everything came the right way. The plan was to make the National Finals in five years and with God’s help, my second year was my first qualification for the NFR in 2015,” he said.
That first year, Costa ended the season as 11th in the world. He continued to work diligently and rope hard in 2016, qualifying for the NFR once again. At the end of the year, he was second in the world standings. His horse, Paraguay, was reserve horse of the year. And then came 2017. That is the year that Costa claimed the World Champion title. He also won the average in Las Vegas and won the top gun award.
“2017 was one of the best years ever! When I won the world championship, when I was getting that buckle, it was like [a flashback to] the thousands and thousands of times I roped. And how many times I went to the practice pen when I didn’t feel like I have to because I was hurting and stuff like that. Just to rope for fun, it is very fun. But when you have to put that work in, it’s not fun when you have to go when it is 30 degrees and the wind blowing and you have to rope. You have to have a lot of effort and see where you want to go,” Costa said.
A Time to Heal
In 2018, Costa made the decision to have his fifth knee surgery, as he had suffered great pain during the NFR. With months of therapy ahead, he took the year off to recover and started roping again mid-way into 2019. Even with only roping half the season, the world champ still completed this year in the top 20, and he is gearing up for 2020.
“With rodeo, you never know what is going to happen. I feel like it really wasn’t meant to be, and I really do believe in God’s purpose. I put everything I got, and didn’t make the NFR this year, but will start to get ready for the next one. I also will be better prepared and will go for the National Championship in 2020,” Costa said.
He is already preparing for his first rodeo of the new year, the National Western in Denver, Colo. In a good, healthy year, he will compete in 80-85 rodeos.
Costa gives a lot of credit to his roping partners – strong horses that have helped him succeed, especially when he was fighting knee pain. He said people will set in their climate-controlled pickups and eat or drink as they need or want, while going down the road, and the horses don’t have that same luxury. He’s discovered nutritional supplements that keep his horses healthy, looking their best and performing to their optimum potential.
“You haul your horses so many miles and expect these horses give to you 100%. You have to give them the most nutrition so they can give so they give you 100%,” he said.
As he was starting up a cow herd, he had discovered Amaferm®, a precision prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to significantly increase intake, digestion and absorption improving gut health. Amaferm is in all of the cattle supplements made by BioZyme® Inc., and Costa thought it sounded like a great nutrition program. Then, he found out that BioZyme also makes equine supplements in its Vitalize® line.
He gives all of his horses the Vitalize Equine Digest More® Plus, Vitalize Equine High Performance, and Vitalize Alimend® each day. The Digest More Plus contains Amaferm. It also contains MOS to trap and expel pathogens, limiting their ability to do harm and Biotin and Zinc to promote healthy skin, hair and hooves. In addition to Amaferm, the High Performance contains organic trace minerals for more stability, vitamins and minerals for nutrient wellness, is formulated for high performing horses and has calcium for extra bone support. Vitalize Alimend provides 24/7 stomach comfort and relieves equine gastric issues commonly associated with training, traveling, and performance without altering stomach pH or hindering digestion. It contains AO-Biotics®, a precision prebiotic designed to boost animal resilience to challenges, that is research-proven to improve gut integrity and immune response.
“I really do believe in Amaferm. These products are amazing for everything I need. I have had great results in my horses since I started using these products. I’ve been helping them so they can give me their best every time that I rope,” Costa said.
Every time Costa ropes, he is fulfilling his dream. A dream that started many years ago as a young boy in Brazil and has brought this young man to the ranks of World Champion in the United States. He doesn’t take his journey lightly. He knows every step of his journey was part of God’s plan. And, he takes time to mentor the next generation and offer advice when he sees younger ropers working on the sport. He said it is important to continue growing the sport for the future.
“Just a dream to rope. Always I love to rope calves,” he recalls.
His dream became a reality with the help of a mentor, hard work and faith in God. He knows the importance of a good rope horse and taking care of his horse so it will give 100%. And that is a picture of passion.