Meet your Rodeo Guy: Kyle Dickens
Q: Where did you grow up?
Kyle: I grew up in Loveland, Colo. and Iâ€™ve pretty much just rodeo-ed my whole life. I tried football and basketball, but I didnâ€™t really like dealing with coaches, so I pretty much just ended up rodeo-ing.
Q: What events do you do?
Kyle: Calf roping and team roping.
Q: Where did you compete?
Kyle: All over Colorado, and then for nationals, in either New Mexico, Wyoming, or Oklahoma. [Iâ€™ve gone to nationals] for four years, two in high school and two in junior high.
Q: Why did you choose CSU?
Kyle: It was just close. And itâ€™s really expensive to go somewhere else because you have to pay for all of your horses to live somewhere else. I keep them on my parentsâ€™ property. We have a boarding facility where we board other horses. Itâ€™s kind of a ranch. It works out.
Q: How is having your dad as a coach?
Kyle: Heâ€™s kind of always been my coach. Heâ€™s always helped me with stuff so itâ€™s pretty much the same as itâ€™s always been. At this level, thereâ€™s not much a coach can do because, itâ€™s so expensive to go to rodeos.
Q: What are your expenses?
Kyle: First, [there are] the entry fees. For college rodeos, they arenâ€™t that bad. Itâ€™s usually costs me about $97 a weekend. We have to travel; our first rodeo is 6 hours away, so thatâ€™s $200 in fuel right there. And then, hotels, and the horses and everything cost so much on their own. College rodeo is not that big of a deal, but I am trying to go pro, so you have to have enough horses for that.
Q: What does it mean to go pro?
Kyle: You do it individually. The only thing you can do is get sponsorships if you win money or youâ€™re doing well enough that you get sponsors behind you. Thatâ€™s how most guys make their living because pro rodeo isnâ€™t like most sports. You donâ€™t get a contract or anything like that; you have to earn every penny. Anyone can go pro; itâ€™s just weather or not you can make a living doing it. Itâ€™s hard. Itâ€™s more just doing it for the passion of being able to rodeo and less for the money.
Q: Why are you so passionate about rodeo?
Kyle: I pretty much like everything about it. Practicing is fun and traveling all over to new places and meeting new people is fun. I [recently] went to five rodeos in two days. Over Thanksgiving I had days where I drove 14-16 hours straight. Competing is always a huge adrenaline rush. I like that itâ€™s a sport in which you arenâ€™t getting a million dollar contract or nothing like that. Rodeo is purely for the joy and passion of being able to rodeo.
Meet Your Rodeo Gal: Kayla Tisdale
Q: Where did you grow up?
Kayla: I lived in Meadowlake, Wash. I barrel-raced a little bit but I wasnâ€™t heavily involved in rodeo. I did the FFA thing where I showed livestock and competed in public speaking competitions. I came here for the equine science program, became a member of the rodeo team my freshman year and have been a member ever since.
Q: Why did you choose CSU?
Kayla: I really like Colorado. I like the fact that if I wanted to barrel race and rodeo, I can go somewhere three or four nights a week, on the weekends â€“ all within a
relatively close area.
Q: When did you start doing barrel racing?
Kayla: I started barrel racing when I was probably 10 years old. It was more of a weekend thing, nothing really serious. I didnâ€™t really start going to â€œthe rodeosâ€ until my freshman year here at CSU.
Q: Why did you decide to compete in rodeo in college?
Kayla: College rodeo is kind of a stepping-stone to the pro ranks. A lot of the top girls in our region we know can go to the pro
rodeos and be competitive. It was everything people said [it would be] and more.
Q: Is one of your goals to go pro?
Kayla: Eventually, I would love to be able to have a pro-caliber horse to be able to do that. I have two horses right now that I think, when they are finished, will be cool. Iâ€™m just stepping back and getting my young ones ready to hopefully [compete in] college rodeo next year.
Q: When you say â€œgetting a horse readyâ€, what do you mean?
Kayla: [For] barrel horses in particular, you are training them to run as fast as they can, then hit the brakes, turn around a barrel, and then run as fast as they can again. Itâ€™s a really time-consuming process to get one ready to go and be able to do that competitively. I guess just getting my young ones ready by hauling them different places so they get used to the sights. When you go to the rodeos, thereâ€™s music playing and people in the crowds; thereâ€™s cattle, thereâ€™s bulls and itâ€™s kind of hectic for horses.
Q: So when you graduate, what do you want to do next?
Kayla: I donâ€™t really know; like I said before Iâ€™d love to be able to do pro rodeo and have that be my living. I would like to do something within [the equine/animal science industry] regarding sales or something along those lines. I even thought about breeding barrel horses or show cattle or something like that but Iâ€™m not sure yet.
Q: How do you balance competition and school?
Kayla: Itâ€™s really hard to do. I didnâ€™t do college rodeo this year because I didnâ€™t have a horse and you only have four years of eligibility, so I didnâ€™t what to waste one. You have to make sure that you really stay on top of your schoolwork during the week because even if you say youâ€™re going to go to the rodeo and study, it doesnâ€™t happen.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into rodeo?
Kayla: Just come try it out. It is intimidating because, if you know how to do it, itâ€™s easy to make it look simple, but itâ€™s not. Starting can be intimidating. Try roping a dummy, come to practices, learn how to ride and get a horse. If you work hard enough, you can go from never being on a horse to placing in the top 10 at a college rodeo event. Just come, show your face, get to know people and try to figure it out.