story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
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Meet the Member Caden Ussery
story by Kyle Eustice
Twelve-year-old Huntersville, North Carolina native Caden Ussery lives with his father Barry Ussery and mother Glennis Ussery, who happens to be the JRSRA secretary. It’s no mystery where the young rodeo contestant found his inspiration to compete. As a 7th grader at Lake Norman Charter School, Caden has multiple responsibilities, but manages to juggle them all. He joined the JRSRA in 2012 and just recently joined the SCJHSRA, where he participates in breakaway roping, goat tying, chute dogging, and ribbon roping.
“My parents, grandparents and I have several cousins that rodeo,” said Caden. “Rodeo has been a part of our family for a long time. The JRSRA is the oldest junior rodeo association east of the Mississippi and it’s a really strong organization. I wanted to be a part of an organization that has good competition.”
Caden admits breakaway roping is his favorite event, although his father is a team roper and his grandfather roped calves. His uncle team ropes, and cousins ride saddle bronc horses and bulls. His mother was also member of the JRSRA when he was younger.
“This past summer, my parents took me to Decatur, Texas to attend the Roy Cooper Jr. World Calf Roping Championship,” said Caden. “I entered the breakaway and the tie down roping events, and finished in the top 20 in both events. I had a really good time there and it felt pretty good to be able to rope against some of the best kids in the country.”
In the future, Caden is planning on college and getting a degree before seeing where his rodeo career can take him. Although roping is his most exciting hobby, he also likes football, basketball and playing the guitar. He’s already learned what it takes to be a successful rodeo contestant.
“I think you need to have good sportsmanship and also good work ethic to achieve your goals,” said Caden. “I like competition and I feel that you don’t get anything out of rodeo if you aren’t competing against the best.”
During the rodeo season, Caden goes go to at least one rodeo per weekend, if not two. After school, he makes sure to practice every day once his homework is done. He heads to the practice pen to rope and ride for several hours while consistently roping the dummy. In his spare time, he learned to train his border collie Callie to be a cow dog, and also takes care of his two horses.
“The horse that I started my roping career on is a grey named Dirty,” said Caden. “He and I have won over 20 buckles and an all around saddle together. He is now semi-retired, and all I do with him now is keep him exercised and tie goats on him. Two years ago, my parents bought me a really nice calf horse named Chex Mix. He has really helped me step up my game and has pushed me to the next level. He and I are turning out to be a great team.”