Boots and Books

An Interview with the Rodeo Team

Boots and Books

Sierra Lewis, Cactus Writer

Being a college athlete takes a lot of time and dedication. High expectations apply to all sports teams including the Central Arizona College Rodeo team. I sat down with a few team members and we talked about their sport, what it means to them, and learned a little about them all personally. I was excited to pick their brains about the sport a little, because I grew up the daughter of Pro Rodeo Cowboy, Brent Lewis. So, I know the industry well, and these college athletes are the sport’s future. Like any other team at CAC they come from all over the United States and even Canada to rodeo for CAC in the Grand Canyon Region, a part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. They come for good reason too, to be part of a winning team! At present the Women’s team is sitting in first place in the region, and the Men’s team is sitting second. I talked with four team members, Dally Smith, Keaton Schaffer, Lakota Bird, and Quintin Forte. Dally is from Pendleton Oregon and her events include breakaway, team roping, and goat tying. Keaton calls Broadus, Montana home and he team ropes, and calf ropes which he qualified for the College National Finals in. Lakota comes all the way from Natton, Alberta Canada, and in the rodeo world is what we consider an “all-round” cowgirl competing in all the women’s events. Lakota has also been to the College Finals in the breakaway. Quintin drives up to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho when he goes home, and his events include team roping and calf roping.

 “What was your high school rodeo career like?”

Dally: “I won state my freshman year in the breakaway, and I made it to the National High School finals every year except for my sophomore year, it was hard but humbled me in the end and made it special when I went back Junior and Senior year.”

Quintin: “I do not come from a rodeo family and I did not rodeo until my senior year of high school, I made it to silver state as a heeler that year.”

Keaton: “I made it to the High School Finals every year except for my Sophomore year and my junior year and won state.”

Lakota: “I made the Canadian High School Finals every year and won Alberta (which would be the equivalent of winning state) in the breakaway and all-round, and won the breakaway at the Canadian High School Finals.”

“Is there a run you made in high school or college that always sticks with you?”

Dally: “Yes at the Tucumcari rodeo this year in the breakaway, I was 2.0 which has been my fastest time ever.”

Quentin: “This year my first run with partner ,Dillion Smith, in Tsalie; we won the round.”

Keaton: “Mine would be my first run at the NDRA finals.”

Lakota: “When I missed at Nationals to win the breakaway, I was third high call and both the girls after me missed.”

“Cowboys are known for their own superstitions do you have any?”

Dally: “Well I don’t put my cowboy hat on the bed, which is the main one, I have a lucky shirt I think I do good in, but one time I wore the exact same outfit and I won in one day and I didn’t do any good, I’m not too superstitious.”

Quentin: “No”

Keaton: “My cowboy hat does NOT touch the bed.”

Lakota: “Yes, I do not put my cowboy hat on the bed, for the rodeo I do not wear matching socks, and I do not wear yellow.” (yellow being another big cowboy specific superstition)

“Let’s talk about those guys you are responsible for making sure are just as ready to compete as you – your horses.”

Dally: “I have Oso who is my breakaway and goat horse, I started using him in high school and before that my brother had him, he’s been with us for 8 years.”

Quentin: “I have two horses at school, my favorite is my head horse I have had him for two and a half years.”

Keaton: “My calf horse Candyman is 8 years old, he’s my best, he grew up at my house.”

Lakota: “My breakaway horse Dynamite is my best horse, my dad bought him to train and sell, but I got on him and we have been a team ever since.”

“What’s the best thing about college rodeo and why you think it’s helping to shape the person you are as an adult?”

Dally: “Time management; between grades, getting to class, practicing, and keeping up our scholarships.”

Quentin: “The people you get to be around, and learning to be a grown-up; no one likes calling home and asking for something, hey Dad I’m 12,000 miles away but my truck’s broke down can you come fix it? Learning to make sure everything is right on my own.”

Keaton: “Money management, paying rent and having enough money to get to the next rodeo has to be learned.”

Lakota: “It teaches you priorities, keeping up with my education taking care of all of my horses on my own, you learn what’s important.”

“Who is Rodeo Idol of yours (Professional cowboy or cowgirl) that has really influenced you?”

Dally: “Patrick Smith I watch his instructional DVD all the time for motivation I think he’s really good.”

Quentin: “I went to a Charlie Crawford school and I went to a Chad Masters school, it helped me a lot, so them.”

Keaton: “Brent Lewis, he’s just a cowboy but when you think of the top cowboys, and then you look above that, there’s Brent. I have also been to his school that he has every year in my hometown, since I can remember.”

Lakota: “Mine has to be my parents they have taught me a lot, and a lot about hard work and getting things done.”

“Is there a Professional Rodeo that is a dream to one day compete in or just attend?”

Dally: “Just to go see Cheyenne the world’s largest outdoor rodeo; it’s one of the most famous rodeos out there.”

Quentin: “To rope at Cheyenne.”

Keaton: “To enter the Calgary Stampede.”

Lakota: “Mine would be Calgary too.”

“When you were growing up was there a cowboy you pretended to be in the practice arena?”

Keaton: “Fred Whitfield”

Lakota: “Lindsey Sears, at home she’s also my neighbor.”

Quentin: “I really did not know about rodeo when I was little, but I guess I would now just be me.”

“What’s on your playlist driving to a college rodeo.”

Dally: “Hood Go Crazy”

Quentin: “Anything George Straight.”

Keaton: “ACDC”

Lakota: “For sure, George Straight.”

“Your favorite app on your phone?”

Dally: “Instagram”

Quentin: “Maps, I might not be able to get to the actual rodeo without it.”

Keaton: “ifunny”

Lakota: “My maps I would never get anywhere, I would be lost forever.”

“Favorite place to eat on the road? Or favorite restaurant you’ve been to during a rodeo?”

Dally: “Taco Bell”

Quentin: “If I can find a Texas Roadhouse I will pull over.”

Keaton: “Steak and Seafood on the way to Bismarck.”

Lakota: “The Longview steakhouse in Alberta.”

“So what does rodeo really mean to you?”

Dally: “A way of life, this lifestyle has shaped me into the person I am today, I have friendships and I’ve learned respect, a lot more than the sport.”

Quentin: “It means everything to me, I used to play lot of sports and I have dropped everything to do this. My family doesn’t do it, I’m the only one, I work as hard as I can and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Keaton: “It’s a lifestyle, I guess when you have done it since you were a little kid and your parents did it, it’s what you’ve always wanted to do.”

Lakota: “It teaches me about life, how to work hard, it gives you something to focus on, you are never done practicing you have never worked hard enough. It’s very humbling, I learn about losing and accepting things and moving on and getting better.”

“I know personally Rodeo doesn’t come without its controversy, I asked them what they may tell a student who questions their sport, Lakota summed it up for everyone.”

 Lakota: “The animals are athletes, we want to take as good of care as them as we possibly can, we do everything we can to make this sport, my Dad is a stock contractor in Canada and I see first-hand everyday what happens in this sport and to the stock and they do not have a hard life.

Quentin & Keaton: “I agree that rodeo animals are the best taken care of animals that there are.”

Lakota: “Our horses are our athletes; we want them performing at the best of their ability.”

Keaton: “Just as good as us.”} else {