story by Lindsay Humphrey When Ava Chadd first got started showing horses through 4-H, she had no idea it would eventually lead her to the […]
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Meet the Member Cooper & Kiley Slavin
story by Lily Weinacht
Goat tying is hereditary in the Slavin family. Cooper and Kiley Slavin of Goodwell, Okla., brought out their best competition along with their piggin’ strings during the KJHSRA finals, each of them winning the state title – a first time for both – in the boys and girls divisions. “Winning the title at state finals was really exciting!” says Kiley. “It was my first time at state finals and I also liked having more time to spend with my friends.”
Along with the goat tying, Cooper, 15, and Kiley, 12, qualified for the NJHFR in the ribbon roping, with Cooper roping and Kiley running ribbons. It was Kiley’s first year of junior high rodeo, while Cooper is moving up to the high school division this fall. They made it to the short-go in the ribbon roping at Nationals, and Cooper also qualified in the breakaway roping, team roping with Cinch Bullock, and saddle bronc steer riding, where he placed 11th in the average. He additionally competes in the chute dogging, winning All-Around Reserve State Champion this year and finishing fourth in the nation in goat tying last year, along with a second place finish in the goat tying during the 2015 NLBFR. Kiley enters the breakaway roping, pole bending, and barrel racing, along with trail course in the NLBRA. Both name the goat tying as their favorite event, and Cooper plans to continue goat tying with Kiley and helping her practice even after he ages out of the event this fall.
The brother and sister don’t recall a time when they didn’t rodeo, a tradition that started with their parents, Rowdy and Kelley Slavin. “We have lots of good coaching – Mom’s always been good at goat tying and barrel racing, and Dad’s a good roper,” says Cooper. “I also look up to my aunt Shelly Meier,” Kiley adds. “She’s really good at rodeo, and she comes to watch us since our cousin Tanner Meier competes in junior high with us.” Cooper also has the opportunity to jackpot with the Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) rodeo team. “It’s a bit tougher, but it’s been helpful practicing with them,” he says.
Cooper and Kiley share a horse, T.O., in the breakaway and tie-down roping, and Cooper also rides Jellybean in the team roping, and goat tying, which Cooper and Kelley trained him for. “He can get a little ornery sometimes, but when it comes to rodeos, he’s pretty good,” Cooper says. Kiley competes in goat tying on Spanky, whom she trained herself, and barrels and poles on Sappy, also helping care for their roping calves, steers, and goats. “We practice every day, and we have good pasture to ride in,” she explains. “I also like to shoot hoops at our basketball hoop, and Cooper and I will ride together.” Cooper further enjoys hunting from his pasture, and both he and Kiley are avid athletes. They attend Goodwell Public School, where Cooper will be a freshman this fall and Kiley a seventh grader. He enjoys math and playing basketball and running track, though he plans to switch to cross country. His basketball team went undefeated their 2015 season. Likewise, Kiley does basketball and track, along with cheer, and especially enjoys her science class.
She hopes to start jackpotting with the OPSU rodeo team in the next few years, while Cooper’s goal is to qualify for the NHSFR next summer and go on to compete in college and professional rodeo. “My goal is to keep rodeoing and work more as a team with my horses,” Kiley finishes. “I’ll miss competing with Cooper since he’s high school rodeoing, but most of the junior high and high school rodeos happen at the same time, so we’ll still be together.”