Apr 272012
Authors: Jaime Pritchard

Meet your Rodeo Guy: Kyle Dickens

Q: Where did you grow up?

Kyle: I grew up in Loveland, Colo. and I’ve pretty much just rodeo-ed my whole life. I tried football and basketball, but I didn’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. [I’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 it’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 parents’ property. We have a boarding facility where we board other horses. It’s kind of a ranch. It works out.

Q: How is having your dad as a coach?

Kyle: He’s kind of always been my coach. He’s always helped me with stuff so it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been. At this level, there’s not much a coach can do because, it’s so expensive to go to rodeos.

Q: What are your expenses?

Kyle: First, [there are] the entry fees. For college rodeos, they aren’t that bad. It’s usually costs me about $97 a weekend. We have to travel; our first rodeo is 6 hours away, so that’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 you’re doing well enough that you get sponsors behind you. That’s how most guys make their living because pro rodeo isn’t like most sports. You don’t get a contract or anything like that; you have to earn every penny. Anyone can go pro; it’s just weather or not you can make a living doing it. It’s hard. It’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 it’s a sport in which you aren’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 wasn’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 – 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 didn’t really start going to “the rodeos” 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. I’m just stepping back and getting my young ones ready to hopefully [compete in] college rodeo next year.

Q: When you say “getting a horse ready”, 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. It’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, there’s music playing and people in the crowds; there’s cattle, there’s bulls and it’s kind of hectic for horses.

Q: So when you graduate, what do you want to do next?

Kayla: I don’t really know; like I said before I’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 I’m not sure yet.

Q: How do you balance competition and school?

Kayla: It’s really hard to do. I didn’t do college rodeo this year because I didn’t have a horse and you only have four years of eligibility, so I didn’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 you’re going to go to the rodeo and study, it doesn’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, it’s easy to make it look simple, but it’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.

 Posted by at 8:15 am

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