story by Lindsay King Third generation rodeo competitor 13-year-old Libby Berger from Udall, Kansas, has a need for speed. “Barrels or breakaway roping is my […]
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Meet the Member Levi Burson
story by Kyle Eustice
When 28-year-old Levi Burson moved to Alva, Oklahoma in 2007 to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University to study Ag-Business, he never imagined he’d stick around. But nine years later, the North Loop, Nebraska native is still there, working as a plant operator for the cryogenic gas plant, Targa Resources.
He still makes it home to see his parents, Kenneth and Ronda, every once in awhile and occasionally sees his sister Jessica, 24, and brother Cody, 26. Between work and rodeo, he doesn’t have too much time for anything else.
“I started riding when I was a kid,” said Levi. “My parents had family farm and I was always a horse lover. I started taking it seriously in junior high.”
Levi took a course from a gentleman in Ord, Nebraska, Mark Wray, who trained quarter horses. He eventually went to work for him when he was 13, cleaning stalls, saddling horses, and as he got older, riding young horses. It got to where he would turn steers for Mark, so he could focus on his show horses.
“I did that until I left for college,” said Levi. “Mark took me in like one of his own kids, so I owe a lot to him.”
Last summer, Levi joined the CPRA and team ropes with his partner, Garrett England. They practice together at least a couple of times a week as his neighbor Shannon Frost’s arena or a Garrett’s place in Kiowa, Kansas.
“Garrett and I have a great chemistry,” said Levi. “We went to college together and I went to his wedding not too long ago. It makes our rodeo partnership that much better.”
While Levi is not married, he has a girlfriend of two years, Tori Bethlefs, who grew up 50 miles away from Levi. He admits they “get closer to marriage every day.” She’s undoubtedly impressed by his rodeo skills, but Levi isn’t too concerned with just one major accomplishment. He believes it’s all about the big picture.
“Because I came from a family where nobody else rodeoed, just getting to where I am today is a big deal to me,” admitted Levi. “But if I had to pick one, my most memorable moment was winning the 12 Gold Plus roping at Broken Bow, Nebraska championships with Mark in the team roping category.”
Despite his success, Levi doesn’t plan on doing it professionally. He just wants to have fun and make a little extra money on the side. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts. From Kid Rock to the Rolling Stones, he listens to a little bit of everything.
As he continues to participate in CPRA events, he’s applying what he’s learned over the years to be the best rodeo contestant possible.
“You have to be dedicated,” said Levi. “A lot of people don’t like to admit it, but you have to learn how to lose. You have to be a good loser, before you can be a good winner.”