Meet the Member Wes Bray
story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
story by Lily Weinacht
The 2017/2018 season marks Kal Fuller’s fourth year of high school rodeo, but his first in the WHSRA. The tie-down and team roper from Bozeman, Montana, chose to go from Big Sky Country to The Cowboy State to team rope with Carson Johnson of Casper, Wyoming, and the friends are leading the WHSRA team roping. “I’ve always wanted to rope with someone I knew I could win a national title with, and Carson brought it up to his dad and things took off from there,” says Kal, the header. “We’ve roped enough to know what to expect from each other.”
At 18, Kal is already a seasoned roper, from competing in his first WTRC Finals as a 5-year-old with his dad, to roping at The Patriot in Fort Worth, Texas, and winning several titles in the Northern Rodeo Association. He’s qualified for the NJHFR and NHSFR, and the last several years he’s also gone to Wickenburg, Arizona, to keep his roping sharp through the winter, staying with his sister Mickayla, who rodeos for Central Arizona College, or team roper Matt Robertson.
Experience has taught Kal to practice to win—and so have the bone spurs in his hips. In junior high, Kal underwent surgery in his hips just after the NJHFR to fix bone spurs, cartilage damage, and a deformed socket, but the pain kept returning. He’s since gone through two more surgeries with similar results. “I’m just riding it out and I’ll see what’s going to happen,” says Kal. He doesn’t plan to tie-down rope much beyond high school, but he’s making the most of every run and sitting second in the WHSRA standings—and that’s without practicing. “I just try to save my body a little bit for the rodeos. I don’t think about what I need to do at rodeos or how I’m going to set things up. It’s all reaction to me—I think if a guy goes in there and tries to make a game plan for every step and something doesn’t go right, there goes the whole plan. I just keep it simple and basically react to every situation, and I’ve calf roped enough to know what to expect in different situations.”
Team roping practice, however, is a daily event. Kal ropes on two of his main horses, Marshall and Strobelight, and his 16-year-old brother, Trace, heels for him. Trace and their 15-year-old sister, Melissa, both compete in the MHSRA. “Melissa will help run steers out that I score, and my mom, Amanda, videos for me. She makes sure we have everything we need, and a big part of my success comes from her. Probably my biggest role model would be my dad, Mike, from starting me out when I was young, to keeping me on good horses. The motivation and the drive of what it takes to be the best I pick up from him. Jhett Johnson, Carson’s dad, helps me, and whenever I go to their place to practice, we’ll rope a couple steers and take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and try to put it in perspective.”
A senior, Kal recently finished his classes through American Schools, a home-school program he started in high school. His next goal is to pro rodeo and continue building his roping career. “I bought my PRCA permit on my birthday in February and I went to two rodeos—Queen Creek and Cave Creek, Arizona,” says Kal. “I don’t know anything else besides rodeo, but when I’m home, spending time with my family is always a good thing. I’m going to try to win state in the team roping with Carson, and the calf roping and all-around, and after state, try to get a national title.”
Kal also extends his thanks to the sponsors who make his goals possible: Classic Ropes, Best Ever Saddle Pads, Go Rope Clothing Company, Madison River Propane, and Broken T Boots.
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