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February D ecember2015 2015

A Portfolio of Toda y a n d To m o r r o w ’s B r i g h t e s t Ro d e o Sta rs

2015 NFR Where Worlds Collide And Stars Align

Tim O’Connell A Star on the Rise

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

Jackie Ganter | Jake Long | Timber Moore | Caleb Bennett NFR Edition


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Rodeo Athletes Magazine / October 2015

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Contents

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Table of

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Jackie Ganter

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Michele McLeod

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Coleman Proctor continued on next page

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Dustin Bowen

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Caleb Bennett

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Jake Cooper

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Timber Moore

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Wyatt Denny

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Carley Richardson

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Clayton Folton

Isaac Diaz

Photos provided by the athletes’ family members.

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For information on advertising or other inquiries, visit our website at www.rodeoathletes.com, or call us at (435) 668-3285. The publisher is not responsible for the accuracy of the articles in RodeoAthletes Magazine. The information contained within has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on this material. Appropriate professional advice should be sought before making decisions. ŠCopyright 2015.

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Meet the Team Meet the Creative Team

Colby Siddoway

Justin Rickelman

Vice President of male athletes.

Managing Director of Film productions.

of RodeoAthletes.com

Dan & Linda Hubbel Photographer

WT Bruce Photographer

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Valorie Smith

Vice President of Publications & Magazine Editor.

Advertising Sales Director.

Jonny Baebler

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Lead Artist & Designer.

Clothing and Apparel Director/ Lead Designer.

Pictured from front to back, left to right: Raechel Livingston, Katie Czappa, Ashley Lapinski, Jaimie Hayes, Levi Wadsworth, Jake Albrecht. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Morgan Stanley

Financial Saving, Investing and Planning Strategies for Professional Riders, Athletes, Sponsors and their Families 8 |

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n unpredictable income, short career span, and the risks and potential of premature retirement due to injury all play into the importance of implementing smart financial investing and saving strategies for professional riders and athletes. The typical athlete’s prime earning potential lasts just a few years. Successful athletes, successful investors, successful people often employ similar methods to help protect, preserve, invest, grow and save their hard earned wealth. Taking a cue from those habits can help one follow their success and improve one’s odds of having financial success long beyond a professional athlete’s career. 1) Have a PLAN: set clearly defined goals and objectives (Budgeting, Cash Flow, Retirement Objectives, Investment Objectives) 2) Identify a STRATEGY: identify the people and means necessary to achieve the plan’s goals. Start saving early, set a budget and an investment strategy

Warren S. Cohn, Senior Vice President International Wealth Advisor Sports and Entertainment Director Morgan Stanley Wealth Management | Financial Advisor 9665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600 | Beverly Hills, CA 90212 Phone: +1 800-458-9838 Direct: +1 310-285-6553 Fax: +1 310-285-2696 Warren.Cohn@morganstanley.com http://www.morganstanleyfa.com/ warren.s.cohn/

3) Ensure you have a TEAM: Choose a financial professional who has solid experience working with professional athletes, and make sure that professional has access to resources, the capabilities of a full-service firm and the team and means necessary to deliver a customized financial advisory approach 4) Remember WHAT MATTERS: Charitable Giving, Establishing a Legacy, Having an Impact: be mindful that this is a long-term game, lasting beyond seasons and careers. Success is not counted purely by dollars and cents. This is life! It is important the professional rider and athlete understand how imperative it is to set a plan, stick to a budget, bring on the best financial resources and advisors to help achieve goals & objectives and as a team work together. As a Sports and Entertainment Director at Morgan Stanley, Warren Cohn and his team can help riders and athletes create and develop wealth planning strategies to be financially sound and secure long beyond the riding career. Please reach out and contact us for a deeper discussion on how we can help you.

Warren Cohn is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Beverly Hills. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC, or its affiliates.

Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Tim and Sami

nell by : Sami O’Con

O’Connell

Match Made in Heaven 10 |

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im O’Connell, from Iowa, and Sami Ross, born and raised in Minnesota, both competed in high school rodeo together, but never knew each other. Tim’s mom always jokes that Tim and Sami had been to the same rodeos and got so close to meeting, but just never found each other. Even though they were miles apart, they shared the same dreams growing up. Coach Ken Mason of Missouri Valley College had recruited Sami after having had the honor of being the Reserve National Champion barrel racer at the High School Rodeo National Finals her senior year in high school. Tim was also recruited by Coach Mason to ride broncs on the rodeo team in Marshall, Missouri. This is where their lives together began and where they have now made their home. Tim and Sami met in the fall of 2012. They had an instant connection and started spending a lot of time together. Neither of them was ready for anything serious, so their friendship began and developed. About a year later, their friendship evolved into something that neither of them expected. When they first started dating, people would ask them, “When are you guys getting married?” It was not just the love that they both felt, but everyone around them felt it too. They learned a lot about each other and all the things they shared in common. Of course they had their differences, as well. Tim comes from a big family, and they are all very close. On the other hand, Sami came from small, close-knit family. Sami grew up close to the cities while Tim was a country boy from birth. Despite their differences, it’s the similarities that still amaze them to this day. This match has an indescribable love for rodeo and keeping their faith in the center of it all. They have supported each other’s passions and dreams completely from day one. The past year has been very busy and Sami hasn’t been able to rodeo much. Even when Tim is thousands of miles away, he calls as soon as he is done riding, letting Sami know how things went. She has stayed mostly in the Missouri area doing MRCA. In 2016, Tim and Sami are both looking forward to rodeo while supporting one another whether together or apart. Tim can’t wait to hear them announce her as Sami O`Connell. He is currently finishing his college degree majoring in Public Relations. When Tim is home on breaks, he can be found at barrel races and rodeos with Sami. Their first big trip together was to Las Vegas for the 2013 NFR, where Tim received the 2013 Resistol Rookie of the Year award. This just made the fire inside of him grow even stronger. He received an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement from everyone in the arena.

In front of me was this wonderful man who had created the most romantic setting I could have ever imagined.

Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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In October 2014, Tim qualified for his first NFR. His excitement carried over into the Great Lakes Circuit Finals. Tim started off night one with a win, which continued into the next two rounds. Tim’s dream was now in place and he got to nod his head for the very first time in the Thomas & Mack Center. The first night was a blur for both Tim and Sami and the excitement never seemed to dwindle down for them. As family and friends flew in and out to support Tim, his daily routines typically remained the same. Sami would wake him up every morning with Starbucks Coffee, depending on how he felt. He would then go to sports medicine before Sami would pick him up and take him over to his sponsor responsibilities and autograph signings. Tim really enjoyed meeting the fans and was humbled to see how much support he had. After lunch, he would usually take a nap. Tim would head over to the rodeo pretty early, and Sami would go with his parents every night. They would get dinner after the rodeo, and sometimes he would have autograph signings, still soaking it all in. The College Finals were Tim and Sami’s first big rodeo as an engaged couple. The first two rounds Sami anxiously waited by the phone to find

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I could have ever imagined. He asked me to marry him.” The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of wonderful experiences together that they will cherish forever. They were wed a short time ago. Tim displayed his commitment to Sami by writing his vows on his much beloved 2014 NFR back tag number! Their lives have changed so much lately and in such great ways. This included planning a wedding, getting married, buying their first home together in Marshall, and Tim locking in his second NFR. Now that things are settling down a little before this year’s NFR they try to spend time catching up with their friends and doing some riding. Tim mentors young bronc’ riders, while Sami gives riding lessons on a regular basis. They love playing with their dog Jackson, working out, eating good food, and traveling to Minnesota and Iowa frequently to be with their families. This has been a very special time in their lives.

out how he had done in both rounds. He had dominated pretty well, so Sami got to fly out to Casper with a few days remaining. The third night, Tim went on to win the third round, securing his number one spot for the short round. When the final round came and passed, Tim ended up as the 2015 CNFR Bareback Champion. After about two years of dating, Tim and Sami got engaged at the barn where they have their horses stalled. The story will forever be remembered in Sami’s heart. Tim told her his horse was colicking, knowing she would drop everything and rush over. Sami didn’t think twice and did just that in her sweats and sneakers. She described the setting as such, “In front of me was this wonderful man who had created the most romantic setting


Rodeo Athletes Magazine / July 2015

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er, Mot t n a G la e g n A : by

her

Jackie Ganter Adversity to Greatness

Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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J

ackie was born in College Station, Texas, to Angela and Don Ganter. Her father owned a few bars and restaurants. Growing up, the family was a typical rodeo family, owning horses and riding daily. When Jackie first started riding, she would never hold the reins herself. After a year, her family decided to try something else. That’s when she started taking English lessons. There was a little training facility where she jumped and dressage. She was very good. When Jackie was eight, tragedy

Jackie is proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and never give up.

hit when her dad passed away. She became a prime example of overcoming hardships, even at a young age. After that, her family decided to move to Abilene, Texas where they moved in with her grandparents Joe and Dan Smith. She continued to do English riding for six years until her English pony got hurt and could not ride anymore. She tried other ponies, but none quite worked out. That’s when she changed from English riding to running barrels. She desired to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Barrel racing was completely new to her, especially since English riding

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and barrel racing are so different. Still, each day she would get a litter faster. Rodeo was different for her in the fact that she only got one run. When she didn’t win first, she had to learn to leave it behind. Jackie went through a lot of ups and downs her first year, as most of her earnings would come in one lump sum. One week she would win close to $2,000, and the next week she would come away with nothing. Still, the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” As her horses figured out how the road worked, they figured out how to get ahead in the rodeos. Jackie’s mother, Angela, accompanied her to every event her first year, with her grandmother tagging along whenever possible. Angela did most of the driving and took care of the horses so Jackie could be as well rested as possible. There were a lot of miles and all night driving that year. Angela said of the travels, “It was a lot of fun having just us on a little road trip. Honestly, a big part of Jackie making it was having us as the support team. Nothing is greater then seeing her on a horse; it’s where she belongs.” In high school, things were pretty hard for Jackie. She had to miss a lot of school, but she always knew how to catch up and prioritize her time very well. She participated in high school rodeo all through high school, as well as the big barrel races. She got straight A’s all through high school, landing her on the Honor Roll and in the National Honors Society. In October of Jackie’s senior year, she received her pro card, officially starting her rookie


year on the circuit. She graduated early in December with 18 hours of college credits and, in the heat of her first NFR bid, started her college classes online; this made traveling and practicing a lot easier. Jackie’s mother hopes that up and coming barrel racers will see Jackie as a role model. She hopes that they can see that not only can they have dreams of being great barrel racers, but they can also get an education along the way. Jackie began going to jackpots and junior rodeos up until the time her mother got sick. After that, she started riding her mother’s open horses, which her mother would never get back from Jackie. She has a feel for every horse and an amazing ability to be able to ride four or five different horses in a day and win on each of them. Her accomplishments in the arena have been amazing for a rider her age. She sets personal goals and doesn’t quit until she achieves them. Her loftiest goal thus far has been to win the rookie

race and qualify for the NFR at just 18 years of age. The rookie race is still to be determined but she will be giving it her all for 10 go-rounds. Jackie won the Texas state title as a freshman, sending her to nationals. Blazing Baby Jay, her main horse, is

six years old. He has won five rodeos this year and is her youngest, but most reliable horse. Jackie has had over 10 different sponsorships and they have all been very supportive. When Jackie finally got to compete in one of the most prestigious events, she couldn’t stop showing her mother the back number she would be receiving. It was zebra striped and the “coolest back number ever,” according to Jackie. As she was signing autographs after the rodeo, a little girl asked if she could have her back number. Without hesitation, Jackie gave her coveted back number to the little girl. In her mother’s eyes, this was one of her proudest moments. Jackie now attends Ranger College, taking online classes. She is pursuing a general business degree, which is perfect for her. It makes traveling and practicing that much easier. Jackie is proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it and never give up. With everything that she has been through, she has shown great strength. She knows that even when tough times present themselves, there is always a bright side. She plans to continue her rodeo career and, just as everyone else, win the world.

Rodeo Rodeo Athletes Athletes Magazine Magazine/ December / October 2015

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Cade Swor A Woman and a Horse really do change a Cowboy’s destiny

When it comes down to it, I want to wake up every morning and still be a cowboy.

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S

ince Cade was a kid, all he has ever known is rodeo. Cade’s father has always roped and started teaching him when he was about five years old, and from there on he started heeling steers for him. Cade grew up with two amazing parents, Billy and Diana, and also had two amazing sisters, Tiffany and Madison. When they were kids they only got to watch one or two rounds of the national finals on TV, and that was pretty much all of the rodeo they ever got to see. Cade grew up watching his dad rope, but he was a big fan of bull riding. Bull riding was what he thought he always wanted to do even though his family didn’t like the idea, so he stuck with roping with dad. Ever since he was big enough to walk, he was carrying a rope, swinging it around, and when Cade was nine his parents got him his first calf horse and that’s when everything started. Cade was nine years old when my dad came to him and said, “Let’s get you a roping horse.” They found a horse to try out all the way in Lightsburg, Texas. The horse was pretty old with no teeth. Obviously that wouldn’t work, so we looked in the newspaper and found a calf horse to try. When they got there the guy did not any calves at his house, but he had some old roping steers, so they roped them around the neck and tied a few down on the little sorrel horse that came to be known as Dangerous Dan. Dangerous Dan taught Cade how to rope over the next couple years, and he was the best horse that Cade could of ever have dreamed of ever having to start with. When Cade was 12 years old when he started hauling to junior rodeos and jackpot ropings. Then in his freshman year of high school he was still working on his technique, and was still not roping as well as he wanted to, so he started practicing a lot more. Cade had decided if he was going to win he would have to start to work even harder, and that’s when he learned how to set and accomplish goals. Cade played football as well, but when it came down to it, I gave it up to follow my dreams. Cade would go on to win the region nine both his junior and senior years. That was a pretty special time for him because all he did to was high school rodeo and haul to US calf roping jackpots. “I set out to win the region in the calf roping at the high school rodeos,” and this was a big part of him learning how to win consistently, and that’s just what all the hard work did for him.

Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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When Cade graduated from high school his mom wanted him to go to college, and all he wanted to do was rope. We decided to meet in the middle, and he ended up looking at Vernon College. They offered me a full-ride scholarship, so he took it in a heartbeat. “That was the smartest choice I’ve ever made, I learned how to be responsible, but also got my practice in.” Cade didn’t have anybody telling him to go rope it was all on him and he took a lot of pride in doing it. College rodeo really stepped up his game, and it was a different kind of roping that he wasn’t accustomed to. Cade coming from Southeast Texas where you didn’t have to run your calves very far, to there where you had to see a little bit and run them out a ways. But combining the two different types of roping that he learned, he won the second college rodeo and the short round. There he ended up beating four or five guys that made the College National Finals. It was then that he realized he was pretty good at roping, and by the end of his junior year, Justin Hawks called him and asked if I wanted to rodeo. Justin offered him a place to stay and he took it. It was that year he made it to his first National Finals Rodeo and didn’t have a chance to go back to college.

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Cade’s rodeo career has had a lot of ups and downs, but meeting his wife last year in January turned his whole life around and got him back on track. He made the finals three years in a row from 2004 to 2006, and didn’t make them again until 2014. “There’s a lot of reasons why, but I didn’t really have a good horse.” Those years, calf roping was in a stage where it was changing, you had to go a little faster and do things different. Cade’s wife Sarah helped him start believing in myself again. He got a good horse, and although it’s still not easy, he now has a lot of confidence in it. Cade’s new horse is a little brown horse named Floyd, and they sure work well together. Cade bought Floyd in March of 2013, and he’s pretty special if you ask Cade. Everybody wins who gets on him, and all he can say is he’s a winner. Floyd does his job every time and loves what he does. There aren’t many situations, other than a couple rodeos, where Cade doesn’t feel confident he’ll win something. He is the reason why Cade made the National Finals this year; and he couldn’t imagine life without him. The best part about Cade’s childhood and growing up was being part of a tight knit family. They did everything together, and he can’t remember a time going to any high school rodeos when his whole family wasn’t there. They were there, they supported him, and that’s how we did everything. They have always had his back no matter what and that

means the World to him. Rodeo has been everything to Cade, and everything he has he has roped for it, including my wife. Sarah and Cade met while attending the Denver rodeo, where she was crowned Miss Rodeo Colorado in 2013. One year later Cade decided to talk to her, and the rest became history. He supports her just as his family did him in everything she does. Whatever she chooses to do in life Cade plans to be behind her 100%. She works for the National Little Britches as the sponsorship coordinator, which is nice because that means we are able to travel together, as she does work on the road. Cade is hoping to rope for another five to seven years since he just turned 33, and I feels like he has another five or seven years to be competitive out here. Cade’s sponsorships have helped him achieve his dreams and he would like to thank them for all they done for him. “When it comes down to it, I want to wake up every morning and still be the cowboy I have always aspired to be. I’m thankful for the people who I have gotten to know and grow with that have helped me make my career the way I have always dreamed for it to be.”


Rodeo Athletes Magazine / July 2015

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Luke

Brown

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Never Give Up Mentality

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uke L d n a ff a t S I A by : R

L

uke was born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina in a tight-knit family. His parents, Luke and Debbie, have always had horses. His father started roping the same time Luke and his two brothers did. Some friends in a trail riding club suggested roping to them, and that’s how his dad got involved in the sport. His family lived on a little farm and had chickens, pigs, horses, and cows. Luke and his brothers, Jake and Cody, joined a roping club when he was 10, roping on Wednesdays and Saturdays. They eventually got so good that his dad built an arena and even bought their own steers. Luke has loved roping ever since. In high school, Luke didn’t play any sports or participate in any clubs. He focused all his time, energy, and dedication to roping. There were only a few team ropers in high school, maybe five or six, but it was pretty big deal. Luke’s junior year, he got started in bulldogging. Luke and his dad one day decided to rope some steers and try bulldogging. Long story short, it was a wreck; but they laughed and eventually go better. When his junior year came along, he was pretty much a pro. Luke ended up qualifying for the high school finals in the steer wrestling event. Luke has roped pretty much his whole life, and decided at a young age he would rodeo at amateur gigs until he could win big. When Luke graduated high school, all he wanted to do was get to the professional circuit, so he decided to move to Stephenville, Texas, which was much different than it was back home. In Texas, it was all about horsemanship, fundamentals, and having better techniques. Luke was used to

going off to a field and doing it the way he wanted to. Being in a town where he felt like everyone was better than him, he learned he had to better his fundamentals, get better horses, work harder, and have a better game plan. In the fall of 2007, Luke moved in with Chad Masters. They had a little apartment together and tons of horses. They roped all day, every day and worked on nothing but Luke’s fundamentals and horsemanship. He changed his swing around, his loop, and learned how to ride his horse better. He would watch Chad on his horses and even though it wasn’t easy to fix, it was than the way Luke was doing it. Chad had made the finals a few times and had a good understanding for what he needed to do. It’s a sight to see how far Chad would take it and how hard he works every single day to get better. Chad was the stepping stone to Luke’s career that he needed. Luke dedicates 75% of his improvement to Chad. Being around someone that has already been through what Luke wanted was a huge learning experience for him.

He loves waking up every morning knowing that he is surrounded by the greatest things in his life: a family, great friends, wonderful sponsors, and a horse that has bonded so well with him.

This year, Luke and his roping partner, Collin, are both really excited for the NFR. They both have new horses, and this is their third NFR together. They both have figured out what works and what doesn’t. Luke and Collin have both been around enough to know what it takes to win the gold buckle. They both know it takes a combination of immense preparation and some luck along the way. It’s really big having a good relationship. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Last year, Luke and Collin didn’t have a good NFR. Luke tried to go faster and a little sharper but it made Collin’s job harder. Luckily, they were able to pinpoint the problem. The horses Luke and Collin are planning on riding in the NFR are good to one another; they both work together and really fit small pens on short scores. That alone is a huge confidence builder. Luke and Collin have used their fair share of horses and nothing has worked out so well for them; the horses complement each other really well, and this excites both Collin and Luke. Luke’s favorite story, one he’ll tell his little girl when she grows up, is probably the biggest accomplishment in his career. Earlier this year, him and Collin were plugging along, having a decent , and then it turned into great. They ended up winning Salt Lake City and Cheyenne both were still in the Top 20 in the world after a couple big wins. In Salt Lake City they were the last team out of the whole rodeo. It was one of the biggest one headers of the year, and they ended up breaking the arena record that year. They then turned

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around, drove all night, and made the short round in Cheyenne. So within 24 hours, Luke and Collin won the biggest one header and Cheyenne, which gave them a good chance to make the NFR. That was probably the most exciting 24 hours of rodeo they both have ever had. Luke married his beautiful wife Lacey in 2011. They have a daughter, Libby, who is two years old now. They both have been a blessing in Luke’s life.

Lacey has been with Luke since 2007 and goes to every event all year long. Traveling in the car for 10 hours at a time gets kind of rough, but neither of them would trade it for the world. They’ve figured out how to stop, eat, and figure out how to change a diaper going down the road. Luke has got to see Libby laugh, crawl, walk, and talk. To them, it has been the biggest blessing of their lives being able to rodeo and still see her grow up. Luke doesn’t think that he would have made his first NFR without his wonderful wife. Luke plans on to stick with rodeo for another 7 to 10 years and love’s every minute of it. He is very grateful for the people who have helped him. He has grown so much and has come so far. He loves waking up every morning knowing that he is surrounded by the greatest things in his life: a family, great friends, wonderful sponsors, and a horse that has bonded so well with him. Luke hopes that any kid trying to make it to the top has a “never give up” mentality, just like him.


Jody Johnson

WWW.RODEORIGS.COM 1(406)775-6761*Courtney-1(406)853-0497*Dale-1(605)488-0410 Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Visit us at Mandalay Bay, Booth 1162

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Baylor Roche

aylor B d n a ff a t S I A by : R

Horsemanship Changes Everything

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Baylor has so much gratitude for everyone that has helped him get where he is today, and can’t wait to make the 2015 NFR something he, his wife, and new born son will never want to forget.

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rowing up, Baylor and his family lived on a farm in Tremonton, Utah. They grew up farming corn, wheat, and hay. Because of this, he got an early start working hard at a young age. He was joined in the early mornings by his brother Baxtor and his sisters Libby, Daphne, and Cele. Like any other rodeo family, Baylor’s father and grandfather took him to rodeos all throughout each summer. For Baylor, it turned from watching amazing athletic rodeo events, to actually participating in these events. When Baylor was 16, he tried out steer wrestling for his first time. His coach, Rod Jones, was the one who helped him get on his feet. At first, Baylor didn’t know if he was tough enough to do it. Rod hooked a cedar post to his horse and dallied off. He told Baylor to hold on and steer it around like he was water skiing. At first, Baylor thought that bulldogging was just really easy, but he quickly learned that it’s a lot of hard work. Despite the toughness of the sport, he grew to love it. Rod had a couple of little steers that Baylor could go out on and practice for a half an hour each day. Rod taught Baylor that bulldogging is so much more than what meets the eye.

Baylor loved to participate in high school rodeos and attended them his junior and senior years. There were plenty of good bulldoggers in his age group. In Utah, where Baylor did his high school rodeo, he would compete against the same guys week in and week out all across the state. He got to know a lot of good people and made friends with them real quick. He wanted to make it to nationals, and did just that his senior year. He always roped on nice horses because his dad would do whatever it took for him to get under a good horse. From there, Baylor went on to college, and rodeoed for Lewis Feild at Utah Valley University. College was a time of maturing for Baylor, he found himself on his own and learned that he was the only person that could stop himself from doing as great as he wanted to. It wasn’t like it was in high school when he had his parents to take care of him, or to take care of his horse. At college he learned how to take care of his own horses, and as well as to make time for practice. He learned how to have good horsemanship at a level that helped Baylor fit in with the pros. He started exposing himself to the professional atmosphere and soon became a professional himself. When Baylor got married in 2014, he


couldn’t really afford to drive to any rodeos. One time, he really wanted to go Texas for the Fort Worth rodeo, so he exhausted his resources and made it out there. Once there, he was introduced to Cole Fulton from Miller, South Dakota. Cole was the friend that Baylor needed to get on the right path, and was with him every step of the way. Looking back, Baylor didn’t have much luck with horses earlier on in his career due to not having the horsemanship needed to be the best, but because Baylor had a friend like Cole, he was able to learn how to be a better horseman, and how take care of them better. After learning the techniques needed he bought a horse from Jesse Peterson that was a NFR level horse which he was able to

it’s been a good couple years for him. Baylor is very skilled at rodeo in many ways. He started with a couple horses, some of them being burned out. After some structured practice, they quickly got better. He just wanted to improve his and his wife’s situation, and now making the NFR has given him the opportunity to make a living doing what he loves. Baylor and his wife Samantha became pregnant around February, then 8 months later in October Samantha and Baylor welcomed into their lives a beautiful baby boy named Bax. Baylor liked to tell people in the beginning that the few first nights after he was born that Bax slept like a dream all night, but his wife told him later that it’s him that is sleeping all night. Now there are a lot of sleepless nights between the two of them. He counts himself lucky to have such a good wife that has been with Baylor from the start. He also says he feels lucky to have two amazing parents that have supported him throughout everything. They have helped him and his wife Samantha while he was gone, and would do anything in the world for them. His brother Baxtor owns one

horse while Baylor owns most of the rest at the house, but there was a time where Baylor wasn’t pulling anything of his own down the road, and all of the horses were just sitting at home. Baxtor being the great brother he is was good to take care of them all year long. He would make sure to get the stalls got cleaned and the horses rode which took the pressure off of Baylor for a while so he could focus on his own family and rodeoing. Baylor has so much gratitude for everyone that has helped him get where he is today, and can’t wait to make the 2015 NFR something he, his wife, and new born son will never want to forget.

ride him for about nine months before the horse became crippled. 2015 has been a great year so far for Baylor, and he tells people that it hasn’t hit him yet that he has made the NFR just because it’s his first ever trip to the finals. Making the NFR this year just doesn’t feel real to him. At many times, Baylor felt like he wasn’t good enough. Sometimes, he didn’t give himself a chance. Other times, he didn’t ride well enough to make the NFR. Now that he has, Baylor is all for it and excited; Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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{

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Michele McLeod Cinderella Story

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on is r r o M y r a G d by : Gloria an

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ichele’s life is a true Cinderella story. She did not grow up in a rodeo family. In fact, she grew up exactly the opposite: in the suburbs of California. Living in townhomes with limited outdoor space and no yard at all, she made the best of it by being the happy girl that she was. When she was a toddler, her grandfather took her to a riding stable. Growing up, they would ride the rental horses for hours at a time. There was a boarding facility a few miles from her home that Michele loved going to. She was at the riding stable almost every weekend and would spend hours there. Her babysitter in elementary school had a few horses and would ride with her. That is where her Cinderella story began. Michele learned to ride at a young age. For her eighth birthday, her parents decided to buy her a pony, despite knowing nothing about horses. Not having any room for it at their townhome, the horse was boarded at a nearby facility. It was about then that she first started getting into team roping. She collected the Breyer horse figurines and always showed great interest in anything connected with the four-legged creatures. She had older friends who would teach her about horse riding; she would read books about it, as well. She learned about Western Pleasure riding and tried to get her pony to perform well. Very early on it was evident that she would be a success at riding. She was a determined child who persevered and never gave up. Michele took a break from horses in high school so that she could participate in team sports. This was only due to the fact that there was not a high school rodeo team at the suburban high school she attended. She put a lot of her dedication towards basketball and volleyball. Though Michele was barely over five feet tall, her high school coaches saw the determination, perseverance, and hard work ethic she possessed and they knew she would be an outstanding athlete. Once she graduated high school, she got right back into horses by joining the Pierce College rodeo team. Her parents bought her another horse and boarded her at a facility that was owned by Bess Chaney. Michele even started working for Bess on her farm and later on, Michele was introduced to barrel racing. This intrigued Michele because she could do it by herself and didn’t need a teammate. Bess was her first barrel racing mentor and was very influential in Michele’s life and career. Many buckles were won with Bess’s assistance and support. Michele participated in California college rodeo for two years and would also attend jackpot barrel races. Most of the time, she loved driving herself to her events. In 2005, she moved to Whitesboro, Texas to ride full-time at her ranch. It was here that she started training horses on her own and did that until 2013. Michele’s horse, Slick, basically shaped her entire career. She got him in 2013. Her mother recalls, “I remember her calling me, so excited to say what a perfect horse he was.” Michele also referred to him as, “an amazing horse” and “a one-ofa-kind horse.” She didn’t have to change anything about him because he fit her riding style so perfectly. Michele believes that God sent that horse just for her. They went to a couple different rodeos and did pretty well, but didn’t have big intentions of making the National Finals Rodeo that year. But after having a phenomenal summer, making NFR, and winning the Derby, Michele and Slick made it look easy. They look forward to the NFR in December.

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In some stables, she got to ride with John and Sunny Suttle. They had some good ideas on new teaching techniques. She took everything her coaches said very seriously. She even started training her own horses just from the advice that she got from other people. She strived every day to improve her horsemanship as a girl growing up, and she still does today. She believes that we can always become a better person and is always striving to do so herself. Michele likes to pick the brains of her mentors on what she should do and knows that if she ever needs help, she has a few people she can call. Michele has a very big heart and is very sensitive to the needs of others. She has such a loving husband, John, and

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three daughters Jenna, Katelyn, and Lindsey. All of her girls love to watch Michele barrel race, and even ride as competitively as her themselves. Her husband supports her completely and makes the best of any rodeo situation, whether it is helping the kids while she rides, or driving hours at night so she can be well rested to ride the next day. She is great at what she does, and from the beginning her parents knew that she belonged on a horse. Michele’s parents had this to say about her, “As parents from an ocean away, we continue to be amazed at her outstanding accomplishments in the barrel racing arena, and are so proud of her ethics and integrity. She truly is the light of our life.�

As parents from an ocean away, we continue to be amazed at her outstanding accomplishments in the barrel racing arena, and are so proud of her ethics and integrity. She truly is the light of our life.


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Ty Wallace Be anything that you choose to be.

T

y was born and raised in Collbran, Colorado. From day one, he was living the rodeo life. Having grown up on a small ranch, he has been around horses and the whole rodeo scene his entire life. At the age of four, Ty started riding sheep. The sheep riding then progressed into riding calves, steers, and junior bulls. Ty’s parents, Fred and Missy, never took him and his brother, Cody, to preschool. They were a close family and did everything together. Ty’s grandfather and father owned an outfitting business. Being the hardworking family they were, they never really went took vacations. Their idea of vacation was heading up into the mountains, working, hunting, and sleeping in tents.

Ty participated in junior high rodeo and attended the Little Britches rodeos as a young boy. He has done it all, from roping anything that could walk to riding bulls. To this day, Ty can remember the first time he got on a calf. To him, it was an insane experience. He remembers being quite nervous and even kind of scared. While participating in the Collbran Junior Rodeo,

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he got slammed to the ground and said, “That’s not for me. I never want to do that again.” A little while passed, and Ty’s mother and father convinced him to get at it again. They always say, “third time’s the charm,” but Ty only needed two. This time, he actually had a lot of fun and was quite good at it. It was then that he decided to stick with it. One thing that Ty thought was pretty neat was when he was in junior high, anyone that participated in the rodeo had a different horse for each event. He bought his very first competitive horse for $1200, and he made her work to do many types of rodeo events, whether it was roping or running. Ty was on a tight budget, so training a horse to be capable of doing anything that he wanted her to do seemed like the solution to his problem. Bret Tonzzi was Ty’s main coach growing up. When he was in middle school, he could remember going down to his house and Bret would help him rope. Kaden Ferguson and Marlin Etcheverry were two others that helped Ty out. They would him any advice if and when he needed it. Any training Ty did away from Brett’s house he would learn on his own. Ty was a smart kid and would teach his horses the way he wanted them to ride. He would spend hours practicing, working to fulfill his dream. Ty attended Odessa College in Texas. Boy, was it an eye-opener for Ty. He had attended quite a few big rodeos as well as amateur rodeos, but when he got into college it was a whole different ballgame. The bulls were a little tougher and everything was at a much higher level. Odessa was a really good opportunity for Ty because he got to practice


nd Ty a ff a t S I A R : y b

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Ty was riding in Oregon and ranked in the top 15, he got stepped on by a bull right in the middle of his back. He was out for a couple of weeks which caused him to fall out of the top 15 and into the 20s. He tried his hardest to work his way back up. As every bull rider knows, “you go through, you’re sore and beat up, but you have to pull through, be tough, and it will work out again.” It was a tough year for Ty, he is glad that he pulled through. He knows that sometimes you have to sacrifice things in life and put your mind to work.

a lot more. He was 17 hours away from home, which really made him grow up. Because it was such a big step for Ty, it forced him to mature a lot quicker. During Ty’s rookie year, all he dreamed about was to making it to the NFR. He knew he could do it if he pushed himself and made up his mind from the beginning. He just had to focus on riding the best he could and to take one bull at a time. Ty has had no problem remaining healthy and tries to stay in shape, but like anyone else in the industry, Ty has had ups and downs in his rodeo career. He had a great spring and won a bunch of money, and had been riding great as well and has feeling great as well. When

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Ty knows that working hard, setting goals, and doing your best to achieve them means anything is possible. Ty has been through so many trials as well as his fair share of ups and downs in his career. Something that Ty lives by goes, “You will never forget rodeo, but rodeo forgets you.” That saying has stuck with Ty ever since he can remember. He wants to be the guy that everyone remembers as well as the guy that everyone looks up to at the end of the day. His love for rodeo grows each and every day. He also knows that he couldn’t make it this far without his loving family, friends, coaches, sponsors, and everyone who has helped him on the way. He hopes that kids can look up to him as an example that if they work hard enough, they can be anything that they choose to be.

You will never forget rodeo, but rodeo forgets you.


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Jake Brown Never, Never Quit

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by : Paul Brown

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or Jake Brown, growing up as a cowboy wasn’t a choice. He was born in Amarillo, Texas in January of 1990. His dad, Paul Brown, was the rodeo coach at Frank Phillips College, then took over coaching duties at Hill College that summer. His mother, Traci, took care of him and his three sisters, Saige, Tomile, and Randa. Jake was dragged from one arena to the next. We lived at the college arena in Hillsboro so Jake spent his entire youth in the rodeo arena. He was never interested in any other sport except rodeo. He did play a short stint of football, basketball, and ran track. These always interfered with rodeo, so they never lasted. He started going to playdays when he was about three, but decided when he was five that all he wanted to do was ride roughstock. He was a big time sheep rider and was already winning at the Texas circuit finals rodeo. He decided that he wanted to ride calves at the young age of five. There were a couple of youth associations going on in central Texas, and he had to go to every one of them. His two older sisters barrel raced too, which made for a busy family. Jake’s dream was to make the NFR. Jake seemed to always hung out with older kids. In fact, one of his best friends was former NFR bull rider Jarrod Craig. Jake went on to become a two-time state champion calf rider and was crowned as a national champion calf rider. At this time, Jake started getting on ponies and won the local pony bareback riding (CTYRA) championship three years in a row. He also won steer riding at three different associations.

Jake’s dad recounted a time when Jake was 11 and accompanied him to the college finals rodeo. They stopped off in Colorado and entered a couple Little Britches Rodeos. This is where he had an encounter with a full size horse. The stock contractor picked a nice little hopper out for the junior riding which he was the only one. He may have weighed 80 pounds soaking wet, and I am sure the horse thought there was a fly on him because he bucked and threw poor Jake about ten feet in the air. His desire for the horse riding subsided some that day but he got on another big horse on his way back home a week later. The next year, Jake was ready to make a run at the Little Britches Finals, where he competed at several rodeos in the junior bareback and bull riding. At the finals, a South Dakota stock contractor sent a big saddle bronc down for the junior bareback riding, which Jake drew in the first round and threw him so hard that we decided to concentrate on the bull riding and turn out of the bareback. Jake went on to win the title of World Champion Junior Bull Rider and numerous titles in junior bull ridding. He didn’t slow down in high school. He won regional championships in all three bucking events, was a two time state champion bareback rider, qualified twice to the NHSRA in bull riding, won the Texas High School All-Around title, and won the national championship in bareback riding his senior year. Although rodeo looks fun, many people really know how hard it is. Jake worked out everyday just to stay in shape, he spent ours in the ring practicing, and always made sure to eat healthy. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Jake Brown has had much success in the arena, but has also overcome many injuries. Back in his calf riding days, he busted his chin open, requiring stitches. A steer stepped on his ankle, breaking it. He got hung up on a junior bull breaking both legs, requiring surgery. He also dislocated both elbows and a thumb, requiring surgery. He broke his foot when a bronc’ flipped on him the week before state finals. But never did he quit. He could hardly walk, but competed and qualified for nationals in bull riding. When he puts his mind to something, boy, can that kid do it well.

If I walk through the valley of death I will serve no evil, for you’re with me.

Jake was on top of the world after winning nationals, starting his first year of college, and winning his first pro rodeo. Then, disaster struck. At Altus, Oklahoma, a horse reared up, turned out of the chute backwards, and fell flat on Jake. All could tell something was wrong, but none knew the extent. The physician at the rodeo said that he needed to get x-rays, so they went straight to the hospital. It was there that Jake learned that his back was broken. He spent the next three days in the hospital, waiting for a back brace. After a six-month layoff, Jake decided to use a year of college rodeo eligibility for the second half of the season. Unfortunately, he didn’t qualify for the CNFR. Not only had he gained weight from the steroids that were given to him, but he also was not given any kind of therapy. This caused his riding to suffer. He still ran for rookie of the year that year, finishing a distant second behind Steven Peebles. He quit bull riding and stuck to the bucking horses, but couldn’t stay healthy. Every time he hit the road, he

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would get banged up. Each time, he’d come back to Texas to compete at the amateur rodeos where he has been very successful the past several years, but he never quit. Jake served as the assistant coach for Hill College for the past few years, but his dream was still to be on the road. This past year, Jake lost his traveling partner of the past few years, Colt Bruce. It was hard, but he knew that Colt would not want him to quit. So he jumped in with Bill Tutor and hit the road. Jake always has a smile on his face but the trait that has set him apart is he never, never quits! Amidst all the changes, Jake married his college sweetheart, Nicole Cox, this fall and has qualified for his first NFR. Jake met his new bride December of last year in school. They dated for a year before tying the knot in October. With no kids and a budding future, it makes traveling and being in rodeo fun. A quote that Jake lives by goes, “If I walk through the valley of death I will serve no evil, for you’re with me.” He recites that before he steps in the rings. He’s a strong believer in faith and a kid with a big dream.


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nd Jake by : RAI Staff a

Jake Long Attending To Your Own Business

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ver since Jake can remember, he has always had a rope in his hand. He can remember getting home from school and wanting to rope the dummy, calves, and pretty much anything that would walk by; that is all he has ever really wanted to do or known. Both his parents went to amateur rodeos when he was younger. His mother, Pam, ran barrels and father, Cricket, team roped. His family always took Jake to junior rodeos and the passion of being in rodeo grew from there. Jakes mother wanted him to be a calf roper, but once he tried team roping, he was hooked! From then on he chose team roping as the main event. He would rope at local ropings with his family and friends as much as he could. Jake has always been fortunate enough to rodeo. His first year of junior high school, he started team roping with Coleman Proctor. They attended the Oklahoma high school rodeos together. They both have known each other since they could walk. Jake and Coleman ended up switching ends at the high school rodeos. He even ended up helping Coleman win the all-around on year. Ever since then, they have grown to be closer friends every day of their lives. When they got to college, Jake and Coleman really started heading places. His main focus was The Prairie Circuit rodeos until he and Coleman decided to try the rodeo trail. In 2007, they attended rodeos throughout the whole season. They were fortunate enough to win second in San Antonio that year. However, they ended up missing out on the finals. Both Jake and Coleman had different partners in 2008. They teamed back up for few months in 2009 until Jake chose to go home early in the season that year. Jake and Coleman became partners again in 2014 where they made The National Finals together. It was a neat experience making it with his longtime childhood best friend. Just like any other young couple, Jake and his wife, Tasha, went everywhere and did everything together. Tasha roped some and would go to the local ropings with Jake. In 2008, the couple was blessed with a little girl named Haven. She was two years old when they started traveling with Jake. They have went to many roping jackpots and rodeos and would live in a trailer from June thru September. Blessed again in 2012 with another little girl named Haizlee. The family had the most amazing time traveling. Jake has a blast with them and never gets homesick knowing that they are always with him. In Jake’s eyes, roping has gotten much tougher over the years. He can remember growing up watching Speed and Rich, making it look simple. Now, it has evolved to almost all of the headers are good and the heelers are roping on the aggressive end of things. When you go to rodeos, they only pay so many spots. Guys are going at it on both ends and it makes the rodeo really tough. Back in the day, they had more rodeos with three or so rounds so being consistent was key. being consistent at a slower pace was the way to the win. Now you have to be fast almost everywhere you go. It has evolved to where they have a lot more one headers and fewer short rounds, so you are rewarded more by being on the aggressive end of things. Many of the athletes these days hope that with all the training tools and kids getting better at a younger age that it will be tougher and hopefully bring more money. They hope the finals will continue to pay better each year even after the new ten year contract with Las Vegas Events, so the guys can make a decent living at doing what every other professional athlete does their job. Jake has learned that having good fundamentals is the most important thing. He sees a lot of the younger guys grow up watching The National Finals. They watch the fast roping and they think they need to run fast on both ends. Jake thinks the best thing to teach a kid is good fundamentals. He believes that’s the most important thing and your roping will speed up as you get stronger. He grew up going fast and has had to learn how to slow down, and just go catch. It was lot harder trying to go fast, and that’s why having good fundamentals, hard work ethics, and perfect practices; you can’t go wrong. Jake’s favorite quote and what he lives by to this day is, “Winners focus on winning, and losers focus on winners.” He believes you need to attend your own business and keep your nose down. Improving your life is what is really going to make you a winner. If you focus on winning, you don’t focus on what other people are doing. Jake loves his family more than anything in this world and hopes to continue roping for another five years or so, with his family all involved as well. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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an m le o C d n a ff a t by : RAI S

Coleman Proctor

(The Goal was) To rope with Jake Long, and to make it to the NFR... Which they did.

Best Friends for Life

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control over his horse having to follow the calf . He learned how to head, but switched to heeling at a young age. Coleman attended Northwestern College where him and his partner were both heeling. His freshman year of college, Coleman won the region in heeling and made the college finals. They changed the rules his sophomore year, meaning Coleman and Jake could not both be heelers because they had to select one partner to rope with. So Coleman decided to make the switch and to go back to heading. Coleman was a little hesitant to try because he hadn’t done it as much when he was older, and he didn’t really have a horse for the job. Coleman and Jake both dreamed of making the finals and that’s what they live for.

oleman Proctor grew up in a rodeo family. His mother ran barrels and team roped, as did his father. Coleman’s father, Keith, and his partner Jake Long’s father, team roped with each other when the boys were young. Coleman started team roping when he was about four years old. His father was the one who got him started and would make sure he had everything that he needed to be successful. Whether it was a good horse to help take care of him, or a practice pen to help him build his dream, Keith made sure Coleman was set up to live his dream as a young man. Coleman’s favorite horse’s name is Bugger, who he acquired when he was 12 years old. He still owns him and rode him in the finals last year. Coleman’s first junior high finals was when he was 13 on Bugger, he won the All-Around that year, and has done so much on that horse ever since. He has won his fair share of buckles on that horse, and to this day, Bugger is his number one pick to ride any day of the week. Coleman has never had as great of a bond with any other horse, and only dreams of finding one more like him in his lifetime. Most men buy and sell great horses every day, but don’t know how to keep a good one when it comes into their life. That is where Bugger comes into Coleman’s life, as the great one. Growing up, Coleman also played football, basketball, and baseball. He quit when he got into high school, because it took too much time away from roping. He has always watched the pro’s on television, and knew that is where he wanted to end up. Since he was a little kid, all he wanted to do was make it to the NFR and do what he loved every day for the rest of his life. During Coleman’s freshman year of high school, Jake Long asked him to rope with him,

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and since then, they started roping together. They won second in the State High School Finals and went to every jackpot rodeo they could get to. The two boys were inseparable growing up, and roped every day as they grew to become the great team they are in the world standings today. Coleman grew up learning how to head because his father, Keith, said that it would teach him how to have more

Coleman has also spent time roping with a friend of his named Speed “Speedy” Williams. Speedy called Coleman one day looking for a partner to rope with and asked Coleman to take it. Coleman refused several times because he had a good job, and didn’t want to lose it or take time off. But Speedy offered Coleman $1,000 and paid for his gas to come see him for a weekend so that Coleman could try out for a team roping position with the greatest header to ever live. Coleman took the offer, and when they were done with the tryouts, Speedy asked him what his goals were. He said, “To rope with Jake Long, and to make it to the NFR.” Which he did, and now they’re making a run for their first set of gold buckles in 2015. One thing that Coleman has learned throughout his rodeo career is that if you want something really badly, it doesn’t come easy. In college, he had to learn how to grow up, as anyone else would being away from their family. He has learned so much from the people and partners that he has roped with through the years. It has really changed his life, his mindset, and business in life. Not only is Jake his partner, but he


is also his best friend. At the beginning of their career, they both decided going in “that they were going to start off as best friends and end as best friends.” They were going to grow and help each other be successful in the rodeo life. This is the last year Coleman and Jake are going to be roping together. Coleman tells everyone that if there’s a guy that you want to partner with in the rodeo life it would be Jake. Guys switch partners all the time, but at the end of the day, both of the boys are best friends, so they will always want what’s best for one and other in life.

At the beginning of their careers, they both decided going in that they were going to start off as best friends and end as best friends.

Coleman is getting married this year to his fiancé Stephanie Arnold. They have been dating for 8 years and decided to tie the knot. They both do rodeo together and can’t wait to wake up every day next to each other as cowboy and cowgirl. They travel and love every minute of the rodeo life. Coleman plans to keep doing rodeo until he can’t push himself any longer. He thanks everyone who has helped him with this journey, especially Jake, his best friend.

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Dustin Bowen

owen B a h t n a m a S : y b

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These days, he takes extra care in coming back from injuries and manages his health very seriously from his workouts to his diet.

I

t was supposed to be just another ultrasound for Brenda Bowen. During the procedure, doctors became concerned when they heard a heartbeat but couldn’t find Dustin’s heart. A specialist was called in immediately and determined he had a rare condition called dextrocardia. His heart was a mirror image of itself. Brenda was assured everything else was where it was supposed to be, and that her son could potentially live a normal life. Dustin Bowen was born May 17, 1991. With his already-known condition also came a hole in his heart, jaundice, and a slight murmur. After spending a week in the hospital, his mother was afraid to take him home. The hole closed up, the jaundice subsided, and the murmur slowly faded away. That wasn’t the only hurdle Dustin had to overcome. Growing up, Dustin was always bursting with energy. So much, in fact, that he was kicked out of multiple daycares. Before he entered kindergarten, his

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parents divorced and his mom decided to make the move from their suburban home to a small farm. She wanted to raise her kids the same way she was raised. It was important to her that they learned the values that a farm life could offer. One weekend, Dustin’s mom took him to his first rodeo. By the end of the night, him and his sister were captivated by that rodeo arena. From then on, all he wanted to do was rodeo. He didn’t have much to work with, but his mom did everything she could just to give him a window of opportunity. After a few exchanges of names and phone numbers, his mother got ahold of a good friend, Kristin, who encouraged him to join youth rodeo. Dustin wanted so badly to do steer riding in the 10-13 year old age group, however his mom refused to let him until he could learn correctly and safely. That next spring, there was a clinic being held only 15 minutes away


and he was signed up to attend. It was a cold, miserable day, but Dustin was bursting at the seams with excitement. His first ride didn’t last long, but he got back on. During his third ride, his spur got hooked in his rope and he was stuck hanging off the side of the steer and got kicked in the face. The guys checked him and were thinking he would sit out the rest of the day. They asked if he wanted to ride again and he replied with his cut and bruised face, “Yeah, but I spit out my mouthpiece when I got kicked.” They looked at him, somewhat shocked. “If we find your mouthpiece, you’ll get back on?” they asked. Dustin nodded without hesitation. After scouring the arena, they found the mouthpiece and Dustin was back on the steer. His family knew right then that he had finally found his niche. The Central PA rodeo family welcomed the Bowens with open arms. Whether it was in the alleyway, roping box, or behind the chutes, someone was always there to help Dustin out. There were only three rodeos left when he joined his first year of youth rodeo. There was a minimum requirement of three rodeos to make the finals. At his third rodeo, he started having doubts and was afraid to ride. His mom told

him it was okay to be feeling a little fear but to not let it stop him. If he wanted, he could get off as soon as the gate opened. Dustin got on the steer and ended up riding all the way down to the other end of the arena. He ended up winning and qualifying for the finals his first year. Dustin admired many of the famous bull riders, but he especially looked up to Ty Murray. He heard about how Ty went the extra mile and supplemented his training by learning gymnastics and riding a unicycle. Dustin knew he had to do more to be the best. Dustin taught himself how to ride a unicycle and always had it at the rodeos. He would train at home and weekly at a gym to learn gymnastics to help with his balance and strengthen his core. While Dustin excelled quickly in the rodeo arena, he was often bullied in school for being a cowboy. If it ever bothered him, he never showed it. He didn’t care that he was different. Through his very last years in school he never let the bullying take control of his life. He stayed strong and poured all of his focus into riding. Every weekend, Dustin and his family would attend a rodeo with their grandfather. They would even pitch a tent when they needed to stay overnight. At one particular rodeo, it had rained all day and they were a muddy mess. Brenda’s exact words were, “Just wait until we are nice and dry in the tent and the rain will sound so soothing.” They got ready for bed and it was still pouring. Every drop was so loud that they couldn’t sleep. About ten minutes into it, Dustin blatantly said, “Mom, this isn’t fun.” They eventually found a living quarter trailer to haul with them to the rodeos. The muddy rodeos were always memorable when Dustin was competing. He was so small and got stuck so easily that the bullfighters would pick him up out of the mud and

carry him to the chutes. He got so stuck once while goat tying that he lost his boots and they carried him out of the arena. Every rider has a list of injuries, and Dustin is no exception. His first broken bone was the most memorable. While riding steers at a junior rodeo, he got fouled at the gate and ended up landing on top of his riding hand during the beginning of his ride. Due to the foul, the judges offered him a re-ride. He had pain in his wrist, but the EMT said he was fine so he rode his second steer. A week went by and the swelling in his wrist hadn’t gone down. His mom decided to take him to get it checked. Lo and behold, it was broken. While he took everything fairly well, he was worried about losing the points lead in the steer riding and the all-around title. It took much persuasion to sway his mother, but he managed to get on the rest of his steers that season by riding with his opposite hand and won the year-end buckle. He even competed in all of his other events, cast and all, and seized the all-around title. He was determined not to let it slow him down. These days, he takes extra care in coming back from injuries and manages his health very seriously from his workouts to his diet. Dustin is undoubtedly an adrenaline seeker. When he’s not doing rodeo, you can find him climbing, hiking, longboarding, surfing, or anything exciting he can find. Although he loves spending time on the rodeo trail, his home will always be in Pennsylvania. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Caleb Bennett

aleb is the son of Bob and Claudine Caldwell and the late John R. Bennett. Caleb was born on a cold November day, weighing barely six pounds. Growing up, he was always small. He is the second of six children, three boys and three girls. From the age of eight, he could sit back, ride a bucking pony two handed, and spur like a kid who had been doing it for years. He seemed to have a real ability for rough stock and was a cowboy from the beginning. He wore a cowboy hat everywhere but school and church. He even wore it with shorts, which drove his mother crazy. He had many abilities; he was small, but very athletic. He played basketball and football until junior high school, then laid it all aside for bareback riding, bull riding, and picking up either end in the team roping. It did not matter what he did because he could do it well. He grew up in a rodeo family. His late father, John, was a many time Wilderness Circuit qualifier in bareback riding and he barrel raced for years. All siblings but one have roped, tied goats, and steer wrestled. His step-dad, Bob Caldwell, is also a roping addict and ropes with Caleb almost everyday. The entire family loves to be involved and compete. Caleb has had a drive and big goals for as long as his mother can remember. He used to tell her, even as a small boy, that he was going to the NFR someday. That was a promise she would later find he would keep.

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His high school years were filled with success, and he really wanted to be a big-time bull rider. He was competitive, but not like he was in the bareback riding. He was very dominant riding bareback horses. He used to hate it when his mother would tell him, “You are a bareback rider. Like it or not, that is your event”. His tenth grade year, his mother recalls sitting in the car with him before getting out his gear bag for his short round at the Utah High School State Finals. She told him, “I cant tell you how to ride a bareback horse, but I can tell you that I know there have been people here that have been so willing to help you since you don’t have a dad

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here like other kids. Be thankful for the people who have been so willing and kind to help; you have been very blessed.” People like the Mascaro’s Stock Contractors, and a lot of other parents helped him with the start of multiple state championships that very day and continued on for years. His mother worked many jobs to keep food on the table and keep the oldest three in rodeo at the time. Caleb always took care of the kids, the home, and the yard. This sometimes even meant taking Cooper, a toddler at the time, to a summer amateur rodeo so his mother could work her second and sometimes

third job. He has a very tight bond with his little brother. He always had to pick him up at day care each day after high school. He was always very giving, unselfish, and his heart was so big when it came to his family. He was dependable and always willing to help his mother with whatever she needed. When his older brother left for an LDS mission, he became the one who rounded up his siblings. His oldest brother, Dustin, loves to team rope. Caleb would go heel for him so he could practice. One particular day, Dustin was being a little too hot-headed in the practice pen,


so Caleb took it upon himself to rope, dally, and drag Dustin off of his horse and down the arena. He then headed for the tack shed like a bat out of hell. He unsaddled in a hurry, came in the house and said to his mother, “Please save me from Dustin, he is going to kill me!” That family still laughs over that story today. Caleb can team rope either end. He could come home, grab a horse, head to a local jackpot with his brothers and step-dad, and fill his pockets with cash. It makes them all wonder why they practice so much. He was born to rope and ride.

Caleb spent four years at college on a rodeo scholarship. He is educated and paid his own way through college for everything not covered by scholarships. He made four trips to the CNFR in Casper, Wyoming. He dared to dream big and continued to always be positive no matter what. His positive thinking is a big influence on our entire family. He never forgets his mother’s birthday or Mother’s Day, and keeps in touch with her constantly. He tells her “good night” regularly and that he loves her on a daily basis. He always has time for even a niece’s or nephew’s birthday party if he is home. Family is everything to Caleb.

He has always wanted to be his own man and that is exactly what he is today. He has done every bit of it on his own. He had no big names or sponsors behind him until he made his first NFR appearance. He is just Caleb Bennet and his mother is his biggest fan, just ask him. At the rate of where he is going, he is going to be a champion. The practicing and having so many people care, teach, and cheer him on makes him so grateful. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to have him be where he is today.

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Jake Cooper

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Anything But a Quitter

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rowing up, Jake Cooper was anything but a quitter. He learned that lesson very early on from his father, Jimmy Cooper. Jimmy has made the finals seven times in calf roping, four times in team roping, and roped with Allen Bach every year at the NFR. He had a good understanding on how things worked best and was taught the right way to do things at a young age. Jake grew up on a ranch in a small town in southeastern New Mexico, about 15 miles outside of Hobbs, called Monument. His dad never really pushed him to do roping, but encouragement was always there. His parents encouraged him to do whatever he wanted to pursue in life. He played baseball, soccer, and, of course, he roped. Jake and his twin brother Jim started roping at the age of 10. They roped the fast lane dummies and went to the roping competitions with their parents. Just like any other boys, they looked up to their dad

more than anything. That’s why they ultimately decided to follow in their dad’s footsteps. Jake and Jim have always done rodeo together. Jim was the header until they were about 12 or 13, then he started heeling. Their junior and senior years, they roped the junior level together at the only high school rodeo in New Mexico. They also attended high school rodeos in Texas while living in southeastern New Mexico. They started to rodeo together their junior and senior years and won the region in San Angelo, Texas as well as qualified to Nationals, won the average several times. Jake and Jim decided they were going to turn pro in the fall of 2003, their rookie year. They decided to tell their dad first, who said, “Well I support you, and I think you rope good enough, but I don’t think you have your horses set up the right way.” Everything that Jake’s dad has told him has always come to pass, whether its been about roping and rodeo or about the business Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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side of things. Jimmy would always say, “There is nothing in this life that I love more than rodeo, but it’s a hard way to make a living.” This is generally true and a lot of the rodeo guys like to travel. The biggest complaint you hear is about how they don’t like being gone from their homes, and away from their families. They don’t like traveling and there is a lot of all night driving and no guaranteed money. It’s not always the best check, especially being a team Roper. At the same time,

it’s not always about the money. The twins make the best of it and love every minute they get to spend time doing rodeo together. Jake and Jim enrolled in Carlton College the fall after graduating high school. They did college rodeo the first semester, but the two cowboys knew that rodeo was the life they wanted. They had a place in Stephenville, Texas and wanted to get to the same level as the top guys in rodeo. Jake turned 30 in June and focuses all of his time on


rodeo. He really loves and enjoys every moment of it and really enjoys the traveling and roping. His goals have taken him a while to achieve because he has had to get some good horses going, and get back to the level that he has wanted to be at. Now he is ready to work harder to try and make it to the finals several years in a row. Jake hopes that some day he can give back as much as others have given to him. When Jake was growing up, he asked all of the more experienced

rodeo athletes for advice. His friend Travis was like a rodeo dad that he could go and visit with. He was very open and helping, which is something that always sticks with you, especially when you are a young kid. With those guys being so helpful, you can’t help but want to pay it forward. Right now it’s an exciting time to be in the rodeo scene with the NFR contracts paying better these years, you hope it will bring a bunch more young kids, get them involved, and get them excited

about rodeo. Jake’s best memories growing up included having fun doing rodeo with his buddies Garrett, Kyle, and his brother Jim; they have a lot of good stories. When they first started doing rodeo, everything was so new: the traveling, seeing new places, and meeting new people all the time. It still never gets old for him. Being on his own makes it much more fun for Jake knowing that he can focus all of his time and energy on what he loves to do “rodeo.” Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Wyatt

Denny Best known as “Wildman”

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yatt is anything but quiet. Although the youngest of three brothers, he is the loudest. He was given the nickname Wildman when he first started on the Heavenly Ski Foundation. This name was taped on his locker when I came to pick him up from training when he was three years old. It has stuck with him ever since. At the junior rodeos, he would try to get the photographer to notice him. He would be the boy surfing on his pony Patches, which was usually okay with the horse. Wyatt was always the entertainment for the rest of the kids and parents on those long, hot days of junior rodeo in Nevada. Wildman seemed like the perfect nickname for Wyatt. Wyatt has so many different hobbies; he loves to hunt, team rope, golf, wakeboard, ski, and downhill bike, but when it comes down to it, he is a true cowboy. During his high school years, Wyatt participated in every event. Team roping, calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, bareback, and cutting. Practice was always brutal. He visited the gym daily to keep up with the physical demand of his activities. He had several different coaches to help him with each sport on a daily basis. He would always push himself to do better. That’s one thing that Wyatt isn’t: A quitter! Wyatt won the cutting title his senior year on a 23 year-old turnback horse. He beat the old world champion to get the title, which shows it’s not always the horse but the rider on his back. It took everything that boy had in him to win. One of his most memorable moments was a steer wrestling event in Fernley, Nevada. The usual call came about his horse and steer being ready in the chute. He went racing down the arena on his dogging horse and his hazer pushed the steer in front on his horse. The steer took his horse off his feet at the end of the arena. Horse and boy went cartwheeling into the fence. The announcer began screaming in fear, as did the crowd. Wyatt jumped up, handed his bent-up mount to the hazer, and ran to get on his bull. This was just another day in the life of Wyatt. There were only a few medical moments to be dealt with despite all the potential for accidents. Even during sleep, Wyatt found ways to be active. One morning, just after midnight, a family member came out to the living room after they heard a lot of loud noises. Wyatt was roaming around, the bar lights swinging wildly, ballbearings were everywhere, and one of the heavy metal barstools was bent in half. Apparently during an active dream, Wyatt was chasing a dodge ball over a fence. He jumped the railing in the loft while sleepwalking and hit the bar, the bar stool, and the counter below with his mouth. His current front teeth are the result of that accident, not from a rough stock event. There never was a dull moment in the Denny household.

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There were many great coaches within an hour of his home, but Wyatt’s favorite coach was Mario Cucci. He showed him how to ride broncs in junior high, and continued through high school. Mario was the one who took him to Blackfoot, Idaho to meet Sean Shields to get his first riggings. Mario traveled with him throughout his high school career, and has always been there for moral support. Mario was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame a couple years ago and is Wyatt’s best supporter. Wyatt may not have been the biggest bull dodger, but he was the most fearsome. It was a team effort on his family’s part to get everything ready for each event. This way, he could fly from team roping, to steer wrestling, and then on to his bull. The long, rigorous travel has been hard his rookie year in the PRCA. He was invited to participate in the World Rodeo Challenge in New Zealand, which he won in front of a huge crowd of Kiwis. He has participated in rodeos in Australia and skied in Switzerland. Wyatt has been to China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. South America and Africa are all that are left for him to explore. He has been to about every state for rodeo, but Nevada is still his home. Even gypsies on the rodeo trail need a place to call home. Wyatt now attends Feather River College in Quincy, Texas. He is now part of the team Jesse Segura allowed him to practice with while in high school. Being a cowboy, living on a ranch, and taking care of so many different chores show that whatever he chooses to do in life, he is going to succeed.


s Staff e t le h t A o e d o by : R

Being a cowboy, living on a ranch, and taking care of so many different chores show that whatever he chooses to do in life, he is going to succeed. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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ber im T d n a ff a t S by : RAI

Timber Moore Living the Dream

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T You’re always going to draw bad, but you always have to stay positive.

imber and his family were not just a rodeo family, but an allaround country one. They owned a hunting operation in Canada and they would hunt all the big North American game. His father, Gordie, would take good hunters and would let them do their work. They leased 1.9 million acres and pretty much would live in the middle of nowhere. His father, Gordie, was a bush pilot and would run supplies for all the hunters. He would fly in and out because there were no roads. If you need anything while you’re out there, you either found it out there yourself, or Gordie would have to fly three to four hours to get it there. When it came to rodeo, his grandfather, William Holloway, had a stock contracting business and while his other grandfather, Gary Moore, would also raise cutting horses. His mother, Dianne, would run barrels and also roped. Both participated in their respective rodeo events all throughout high school and continued after as well. That’s how it all started. His family started by taking him to play days and youth rodeos, and it progressed from there to attending the high school rodeos. Timber had a yellow horse named Pistol. When he was in high school, Pistol was his main horse. He heeled on him and also used him to rope calves. Timber didn’t play any sports in high school so focusing on rodeo was a good plan from the beginning. He made the high school finals in calf roping twice and team roping once. He then had a sorrel horse named Stub. He had great success riding him in college as well. Timber rodeoed for Weatherford, Texas at Tarleton State College. It was a junior college, and he was always riding different kinds of calf horses. He bought a sorrel colored horse name Chuck his junior year. He ended up taking Chuck to the pros and making Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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Clint Cooper and Trent Creager are some of Timber’s traveling partners. They get in and rodeo with Timber and it works well with them every time the three get together. Their most memorable rodeo moment together was one Fourth of July, they all had won over $10,000. All of the boys get along great together, they treat each other just like family because they are around each other 24/7. They have seen the good and bad, but as they treat each other like brothers, they give off nothing but good vibes. Everybody wants the other one to win just as badly as they want to win themselves, as they all try to give good advice and stay positive. It is a big thing when it comes to rodeo because you’re always going to draw bad, but you always have to stay positive.

the finals on him. Some people don’t understand how important it is to have good calf horses. It is very important, if you want to be successful, you need to have a very close relationship with your horse. In 2005, tragedy hit the family. Timber found out that his father Gordie had passed away. He lost a lot of his focus and didn’t attend to the business very well after that happened. It had a really big impact on his life. He still did rodeo and team roping, but as far as just taking it as a profession, he didn’t quite do that. Gordie was always really positive when Timber was in junior rodeo. Gordie would never get down, and was hard on Timber, but he was always very supportive. Gordie had horses and calves and he would help Timber become a

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better roper every day just by supporting him, to Gordie it was just being there and being a father figure. About a year after his father’s passing Timber started taking rodeo more seriously, and actually started treating it like a business by trying to do his best. The college years were great years for Timber. The competition was tougher, and he had to do a lot more on his own as far as not having his family and parents there taking care of business for him. It was something he had to do on his own. It got him prepared to go to the pro rodeos where he would have to enter himself, get himself there, and work hard at it. He definitely had to be ready. Timber took care of business and was dedicated to winning.

Timber’s friend introduced him to his wife Valery. She played basketball in high school and college. She did not rodeo, but thinks its going to be a good year for Timber. She has always given him great advice and supports him one hundred percent. Timber hopes to rodeo for another five more years, then plans on becoming a farmer or trade equipment. There are a lot of jackpot rodeos where he lives in Aubrey, Texas and will attend as many as he can. He plans on coaching and “living the dream” of being a cowboy.


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Carley

Richardson Carley had a lot of ups and downs, just as any one else in this industry would, but she really focused and ended up 10th this year.

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Carley had an exceptional high school career. She won the all-around in her region all four years in Texas; her senior year, she won the barrels and the breakaway in the all-around. When she attended college at South Plains Junior College in Texas for two years, she loved roping more than running barrels. She ended up fourth in the college finals, but sadly only take the top three were chosen for the College National Finals Rodeo.

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ike any other cowgirl, Carley grew up on a ranch. Her father Jim raised cattle and was a team roper. They have always been a really close family and have always done a lot together. Ever since she was a little girl, Carley has always been on a horse. Carley and her sister Kaile would play Cowboys and Indians. Carley had a little pony that she would get on and pretend to be the Indian while her sister Kaylee would chase her on her horse and pretend to be the cowboy. They both had a lot of fun growing up. They had a lot of support from their family; their dad would train each and every horse that both girls have ever ridden and always made sure that they had what they needed to be successful. Carley’s favorite and most memorable horse was a little Welsh pony named Oakie. They bought him for only $500 because nobody knew how old he was. She didn’t win very much on him but she had a lot of fun. Carley was anything but competitive when it came to riding Oakie. She would go to the rodeo and her father would say, “Are you going to win today?” Carley would answer, “No, I’m going to get beat.” Jim would respond, “Well why are you saying that?” Carley would reply, “Because my friend told me she was going to beat me.” Carley was fine with it because she just wanted to go play with her friends at the rodeo. After Oakie, she got a different horse named Cisco. He was a pretty fast horse and when she started winning oh him, she realized it was pretty fun to win. Cisco made her more of a competitor. Her dad would joke that she would still be riding Oakie if it weren’t for the speed. Carley had an exceptional high school career. She won the all-around in her region all four years in Texas; her senior year, she won the barrels and the breakaway in the all-around. When she attended college at South Plains Junior College in Texas for two years, she loved roping more than running barrels. She ended up fourth in the college finals, but sadly only take the top three were chosen for the College National Finals Rodeo. She recieved an Associate’s Degree in Exercise Sports Science with a minor in Psychology. Carley would not trade her college years for anything. She matured immensely as a person. She learned how to be on her own, proper time management, and how to manage a full class schedule. She knew that she had to figure out how to solve problems without having her parents there. She admires the girls that are doing rodeo right out of high school, because she knows she definitely wasn’t mature enough to handle that when she was their age. Carley has a lot of respect for her coach, Josh. They have had a lot of fun roping together. She would rope on his horses because he was always too busy to. Carley’s dad also trained horses for young girls. He knew he had to train them to be easy to ride because the girls were little and not very strong and they weren’t going to be able to do a whole lot on their own. This was nice for Carley because every time she jumped on a horse, she knew exactly how it was going to ride. Boy was the first horse of Carley’s that her dad didn’t train. He came from Louisiana and was quite a difficult horse to begin with. Carley had always thought that when you get a winning horse, it would be so easy to win. She turned out to be dead wrong. She came out with a whole new respect for girls that can hop on any horse and win because she struggled with being able to do that.

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Carley ended up having a phenomenal year. She had set a goal that she was going to make it to the NFR. Her horses were good enough, she was good enough, and she had a better winter this year. She won about $15,000 and had a really good Fourth of July. She felt more confident, like she belonged out there. She rode great, which made her horses work better. Carley had a lot of ups and downs, just as any one else in this industry would, but she really focused and ended up 10th this year. Carley lives at home with her loving parents, Marsha and Jim, and focuses all of her time on rodeo. She travels a lot, and when she is not at home she has a few small horses that she loves to ride. She also has a lot of friends that she visits and has the best of times riding for fun every now and then. She is thankful for the people that have helped her in her career and hopes she can be looked to for an example to anyone who is trying to pursue their dream.


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Clayton Foltyn

Clayton comes from an impressive pedigree of rodeo athletes, and is proudly upholding the family tradition Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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layton grew up in a rodeo family. In fact, he comes from an impressive pedigree of rodeo athletes. His father was a bull rider and was in the PRCA. His grandpa on his mother’s side was a bull rider that made it to the NFR four times. His grandpa on his father’s side was a steer wrestler and he won the National High School Finals one year back in the 50s.

The first calf Clayton ever rode was a little miniature steer that he used to do a clown act with. It was a pretty entertaining act, and Clayton would do it at some of the big rodeo events he attended in his youth. He used to get on him before the rodeo every now and then and thought he was a pretty impressive guy. All he did was trot around and do a couple of fun tricks. Clayton had such a blast doing this act before rodeos. Clayton’s dad, Rain, was always there for Clayton. He owned bucking bulls and would buy them on a regular basis. Clayton and his brother Justin would get on some of the good looking bulls and give them a go. They loved getting tossed around and it made them feel like they were one of the pros. Rain would teach them all the hoops and loops; they were pretty quick learners. The brothers knew right from the beginning that they wanted to take things to the next level and do this kind of thing for a living. Clayton and Justin also rode cutting horses for Roy Carter growing up. Roy, too, always had a lot

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of bulls for Clayton and Justin to ride around on. These boys did nothing but eat, sleep, and dream of rodeo. Whatever they could do to make themselves better, that’s exactly what they did. Justin was actually a really good bull rider. He was just as good as Clayton, if not better. Clayton and Justin have always been very close brothers. Their mom, Tara, was a flight attendant, so Justin was a big part of helping raise Clayton. He is two years older than Clayton and was the best big brother he could have hoped for. Justin taught Clayton so many things, especially bull riding. They used to get on the craziest bulls and would fight over the last one and who would get on it first. Clayton’s freshman year of high school, he was off to a slow start. This was largely in part because he was hurt for most of the season. When his sophomore year came around, he ended up taking state in bareback riding at the finals, as well as the top average in the bull riding. He made the high school bull riding and bareback finals. He took second in the all-around that same year. By the time his senior year came around, he had already broken into the pro rodeo circuit. Despite already being on the pro circuit, Clayton went to college rodeo. He ended up not taking it very serious on account of already being in the pro rodeos. He had his sights set on the NFR. His first semester of college was also the end of his rookie year, so he wasn’t able to attend many college rodeos because he was always at the pro rodeos. Clayton ended up finishing in 16th that year in bull riding, and 19th in the bareback riding. At the beginning of Clayton’s career, he ran around with My-

ron Wood and Cody Teel. Myron taught Clayton all the ins and outs about rodeos. His dad would always say to him, “You have to surround yourself with good company if you want to be good.” Clayton would always rodeo with winners that are just as good as him, if not better. Cody is just a good, positive guy to be around the whole time. He would give you the shirt off his back if you need it. There are many people in this career that want to see those around them succeed. Clayton has a trainer that owns a gym called Roughstock Athlete. He helps Clayton stay fit and in shape. If there’s one thing in life that Clayton hates, it’s losing. Clayton’s wife Kayla, supports him in every aspect of the rodeo world. She means everything to Clayton. His attitude is such that if you dig it out from the bottom of your heart and guts and just try hard every time and are able to look at yourself in the mirror just knowing that you tried as hard as you could, that win, lose, or draw, you should still be a cowboy at the end of the day.


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Isaac Diaz

When Isaac finally started to ride, it was as if he had been doing it for years. It was a talent that came naturally to him, and he was bitten by the riding bug from that moment on.

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hen your goal is to make it as a professional rodeo athlete, it is vital to get in as much practice as possible, and for Isaac Diaz, being homeschooled was just the opportunity he needed to allow for maximum time in the practice pen. Isaac Diaz was born in California in 1986, but his parents decided to move to Florida in 1993, so that they could be closer to family on the east coast. The Diaz family is close, and each of them is in love with the rodeo lifestyle, so Isaac didn’t need to be encouraged by anybody to get involved. Being homeschooled meant that Isaac could spend the daylight hours working outside, while at night he would study with the help of his mom and dad. It was a routine that worked for Isaac and enabled him to get an early start on developing his skills in the arena. As a youngster, even before Isaac learned to ride himself, he would watch his cousins roping. He grew up around colts and wanted nothing more than to climb on and ride them around his family’s ranch. When Isaac finally started to ride, it was as if he had been doing it for years.

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performed them, despite being several years younger.

Isaac is set to continue displaying his talent and showing the world his desire to be the best as he listens to his own advice and remains focused on his goals It was a talent that came naturally to him, and he was bitten by the riding bug from that moment on. It wasn’t until Isaac turned 12 that he started roping himself. Now that he was old enough, he would spend all day in the practice pen roping calves with his cousins, and he very quickly out-

At the age of 15, Isaac took part in his first high school rodeo, and his distant cousin, Mike Fletcher, who Isaac always called, Uncle Fletcher, was there to give him some pointers. Uncle Fletcher was a seven-time Circuit Champion, so having him there for guidance was a huge help in kick starting Isaac’s career. Uncle Fletcher admired Isaac’s worth ethic and could tell that his passion and determination would help him go a long way. He even gifted Isaac and his brother each a horse, which was actually a sly way of testing how Isaac coped with difficult horses. “It was a tough horse,” says Mike. “It was bucking Isaac off all the time.” But there was a method behind Mike’s madness, as he wanted to see whether Isaac really was serious about becoming a professional rodeo athlete. Mike was obviously impressed with what he saw. He brought in some cattle to practice riding with Isaac, and it was during this time, when Isaac simply did not give up, that Mike saw just how much he wanted to succeed. “I have never seen anyone who wants it


z by : Brittany Dia

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College was an adventure for Isaac, but although he progressed through his studies as well as his appearances in the arena, he realized that he was beginning to get distracted. The social side of college had lured him away from his passion and he could suddenly see his goals begin to get a little further away.

as bad as him,” said Mike. “Once I saw just how much he wanted it, I knew that I would do anything to help him get there.” Sure enough, with the help of Uncle Fletcher, Isaac continued to train all day while making sure that he got his nose into his books at night and earned a solid education. Isaac then went on to become the Florida High School Rodeo Saddle Bronc State Champion three years running; an ironic achievement for a competitor who not once stepped into a high school to learn. But the homeschooling had paid off, and Isaac was a champion. Isaac did so well in all areas that he received a whole pile of college acceptance letters. There were so many schools which he would have loved to attend, and while he was desperate to stick close to his family in Florida, he knew that he couldn’t base his decision on this. He had to make the decision for himself and not let the strong bond with his family influence him. It took a lot of research, but finally, Isaac decided that he would attend college in Vernon, Texas. At the time, it was the toughest rodeo region, and he wanted to be based right in the heart of the best action. “You are only as good as your competition,” says Isaac. He was driven to be the best, and he knew that the only way to become the best was by beating the best.

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“If I could go back and speak to my 15-year-old self now, I would tell him that he has to stay focused,” laughed Isaac. “I would tell him that he needs to set himself some long-term goals, but also focus on short-term goals. He needs to keep his mind on his goals 24/7, because it’s easy to slip up.” Isaac didn’t allow this minor hiccup to disrupt his career, and he soon found his footing again, going on to qualify for the NFR four times, finishing 8th during his last trip there in 2013. In 2010, while taking part in the Canadian Finals, Isaac met Britany Fleck, who was competing in the barrel racing. Isaac and Britany instantly hit it off, and in November of 2013, the pair was married. It isn’t easy trying to balance a marriage when both partners are competitive athletes, and the travelling can

sometimes be a burden, but the Diaz’s make it work, and will rodeo together during the winter and spring months. Isaac eats, sleeps and breathes Bronc Riding. Uncle Fletcher could see that he was born to do it. It’s undeniable that Isaac Diaz has the drive needed to make it in the rodeo world. Like Uncle Fletcher said all those years ago, watching him hold on to the back of that bucking horse was a real gift. Together with his wife, Isaac is set to continue displaying his talent and showing the world his desire to be the best as he listens to his own advice and remains focused on his goals.


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Left: 21” Therapy Ice Spa on 16’2 hand horse; Right: 28” Recovery Ice Spa.

with the soft deep gel enables the hoof’s leading edge to sink, thereby encouraging easier lateral movement, as well as easing tension of stressed tendons, ligaments, and tired musculature. When Soft Ride boots are used on healthy horses they seem to invigorate tired horses by providing comfort and support in the trailer and stall. That means using Soft Ride boots are excellent for decreasing fatigue when traveling to competitions and recovering after a tough work out. If you’re looking for the best performance possible, we recommend using Soft Ride

boots during the trailer ride, over the sole-bruising stone parking lots, in the stall, through the slippery alleyway, and right up to the arena. Soft Rides provide a more rested horse for the next day’s competition and are the answer for less fatigue, faster recovery, and a happy horse. Soft Ride boots can also be used to provide comfort and support to horses with acute medical conditions. We have several types of specialty orthotics designed specifically for medical conditions like acute or recurring laminitis, navicular syndrome, stone bruises, and


abscesses. Horses experiencing laminitis or founder can greatly benefit from a dual-density orthotic which is designed with a softer toe to allow a rotated coffin bone to sink to a more neutral angle while a firmer heel supports the deep digital flexor tendon. There are also different levels of firmness in our neutral density orthotics that can provide comfort for even the sorest horse. Using Soft Ride boots during acute pain episodes may reduce discomfort and help your horse move more comfortably. Soft Ride Gel Comfort Boots come in 18 sizes, including “long” and “narrow” sizes to get the best, most comfortable fit possible for every horse. Accurate hoof measurements are critical for the successful sizing of the boot. Our website provides sizing guides and tutorial videos for measuring and sizing boots. We also have a customer service team available to answer your questions. **** For cooling needs, check out Soft Ride’s latest product: the Ice Spa! We are very excited about the cooling results we are achieving, and the enthusiastically positive reactions from our clients, two and four legged! We took the best part of the Soft Ride Comfort Bootsthe Deep Gel orthotic, and modified it with channels to allow for a portable, safe method to ice a horse’s leg and sole. The Ice Spa supports the sole and circulates water under the hoof using the channelled orthotic. The Ice Spa is being used at events as a portable, clean mineral sea salt spa. It utilizes a hoof retention collar that holds the foot in place, preventing the horse from stepping out of the spa. Ice Spas can go where you go with

no fuss and no mess. The Ice Spa is lightweight, portable, and can be easily taken anywhere the competitive horse is; efficiently icing and allowing mineral spa treatments with minimal labor. In addition to icing and mineral spa treatment, the horse gets the benefit of the Soft Ride technology by standing comfortably on a Soft Ride Gel orthotic. The Ice Spa also has portable aeration options and convenient mineral salt spa treatment packs for the ultimate spa benefits. The Ice Spa is available in two heights: the Ice Spa Therapy 21” and the Ice Spa Recovery 28”, both fitting hoof sizes from hoof size #000 to Size #2 standard U.S. keg shoe. The Ice Spa 21” is ideal when following long icing protocols for acute laminitis, sepsis or post-colic surgery. The 21” (intended to be below the knee on most horses), allows a horse some flexing comfort during the extended sessions. The Therapy model can also be used for post workout/competition recovery icing below the knee. The Ice Spa Recovery 28” is specifically designed for pre/post athletic performance icing to reduce debilitating and performance robbing equine inflammation. Natural icing safely helps rapid recovery from inflammation after a

Using Sea Salt Mineral Spa Treatment and Optional Hose Kit and Aerator.

tough workout or competition. It is tall enough to fully cover the knee and hock on most horses. With the added height to provide greater cooling further up the leg, it is restrictive in the knee/hock movement. Want more information? View step by step “How to Use a Soft Ride Ice Spa” video instructions on our website: www.softrideboots.com and visit with your veterinarian. Soft Ride Incorporated is the manufacturer of Soft Ride products and sells direct to domestic and international consumers, via phone and on the web at www.softrideboots.com. We also sell to veterinary clinics and hospitals across the world and feel fortunate to have excellent affiliations with over four thousand veterinarians, using Soft Rides. Selling directly to consumers and veterinary clinics provides the consumers the best support, advice, and value, by eliminating reseller misinformation, mark-ups or complications. Rodeo Athletes Magazine / December 2015

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