Meet the Member Trysten Rawls
story by Lindsay Humphrey All four Rawls boys essentially live and breathe team roping, day and night. At the helm of that passion is Trysten, […]
story by Lindsay King
Chutes bang, the bull leaps and snorts as a bell rings on Blake Solmi’s bull rope. That bell was passed to him from his uncle Bill who also rode bulls years ago. “My grandma gave it to me when I first started competing and told me that my uncle used to ride with it and it kept him safe. In 12 years of riding, I have only had one broken bone and it was my ankle two years ago,” said the Harrah, Oklahoma, bull rider. Born in California, Blake moved to Oklahoma with his family when he was six years old. That same year they traveled down to Texas to the family ranch where Blake jumped on his first bull and fell in love.
“When I first started riding I was getting on full-grown bulls and steers, we did not realize that I needed to be riding sheep first. Riding just took off from there. It has been quite an adventure and a big part of my life.” Several wins at state and trips to nationals, Blake is in his senior year of high school rodeo in Oklahoma. “Last year I was sitting first in the state but then I got hurt in Beaver. It was the worst wreck I have ever been a part of.”
After getting a re-ride, Blake found himself on a short, white bull who proved to buck hard. “I rode him really well but as I was getting off he cut back the other way and I got thrown under him. He stomped on my chest and I was flown to the hospital in Norman.” A collapsed lung and torn liver led to internal bleeding. “It was a pretty scary deal. I am a starting athlete for my school so I have to be careful how much danger I put myself in when I am recovering from rodeo injuries.”
A senior at Harrah High School, Blake is a starting running back, third baseman and 160-pound wrestler. “Right now I am on leave from bull riding but after football is over I will go back to riding every weekend in the OHSRA.” Blake credits the association, its officers and committees with preparing him for higher level competition. “There is no better competition than in Oklahoma, we get on really great stock every rodeo. This helps us become better riders and prepares us for nationals.” The big family that is the OHSRA, is Blake’s favorite part of rodeo.
“Rodeo has always been my first love, a natural high that puts me on cloud nine. It has definitely kept me out of trouble. I love the sport and I love to be around it.” Blake is looking into continuing his rodeo career at Southwestern Oklahoma State University while pursuing a degree in either business or law.
“I own part of the family company: Solmi Bros Lawn Care and Tree Service. My dad, David, started it in California and has been doing it for the last 40 years.” Specializing in everything from plumbing and cement to fencing and tree removal, Blake and his siblings, David, Tiffany and Ashley, have been involved for as long as they can remember. “The whole family pitches in with the company. My brother is the lead mow guy and my mom, Kim, just got her spray license so she can start doing her own branch of the company. We are all outdoor people and just want the best for everyone.”
Blake’s life-long role model is his dad, instilling hard work and integrity in all his kids. “Dad has always taught me to give 100% in everything I do, carry myself with pride and always introduce myself with a handshake.” He strives to be a leader in everything he does, leading people and himself in the right direction. “I have always been taught to let go of people who hold me back from reaching my full potential. As I am chasing my dreams and goals, I tell myself everyday not to stop until I get there.”
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