They say that competition makes you faster, but collaboration makes you better. Such is the case between whip cracking champions Cameron Cato and Ryan Waldman. Whip cracking is a pretty small world no matter where you are, and it didn’t take long before these two young men—only a year apart in age—met each other in competition. They’ll both be performing on stage at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA this October 20-22. There are many similarities between the two, but the biggest is the fact that meeting each other—and other whip crackers—has only made them better.

Both Ryan and Cameron were introduced to the art of whip cracking, also called whip popping, by family members. Using a six-foot Florida cow whip for his tricks, Ryan maintained that he was also influenced when fellow whip cracker Anthony Stanton introduced Ryan to the videos and DVDs of extreme whip cracker Adam Winrich. “He holds the Guinness World Records for just about anything you can imagine with whip cracking,” Ryan shared. He also added that Cameron, the older of the two at 18, has taught Ryan some as well.

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Cameron agreed with his long-time friend and competitor, but was just as fast to graciously point out that it goes both ways. “I’ve taught him a few things here and there, and I’ve learned a few things from him. We just kind of give each other tips and tricks, that kind of thing,” Cameron assured. He shared that he uses cow whips too, but he also uses Australian-style stock whips, which “are built just a little bit different…I like them for performing.”

In terms of performing at competitions, the two have faced off for a number of years. Cameron took home the title of state champion at the whip popping competition in Kissimmee for many years in a row, and Ryan shared that he was determined to win it. He did in 2014, but Cameron won it back in 2015. “We got to be kind of friends—we’re still competitors—but it’s friendly,” Cameron said. Ryan agreed, saying “We like each other…we get along, but you know at the end of the day we’re there to compete. If we have new tricks before competitions, we won’t share them with each other until afterwards.”

Both see whip cracking in their future. Cameron is a whip maker as well, and he plans to carry on the traditions of the whip cracking art by making and selling his whips in addition to “continuing to perform and telling people about the real roots and traditions, and by doing events like the Sunbelt Ag Expo,” he shared. Ryan also explained that he enjoys continuing the traditions of whip cracking through teaching others how to crack a whip. “We just had our 4-H meeting, and I taught a few people, and they learned real quick,” he said before adding that he would also likely teach his own future kids as well.

Just like Cameron and Ryan, we at AgAmerica Lending have our feet in the history and traditions of agriculture and our eyes on the future. If you’re looking for an ag loan or land loans from a lender who understands your past and cares about your future, know that we help agribusinesses big and small to develop and grow with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.