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Meet the Member Marshal Peterson
story by Terry Rhodes
If a Venn diagram were constructed to show the relationship between rodeo cowboys and degreed mathematicians, the resulting group would likely be pretty small. But in that group would be Marshal Peterson, “I had a rodeo scholarship at South Dakota State University and graduated with a mathematics degree.” Marshal is planning on going back to school in the fall and to get his master’s degree in the teaching of mathematics. “I’d like to teach either high school or college mathematics.”
He likes the Mid-States Rodeo Association and gets to every rodeo that he can. “I like the convenience and locations of the rodeos. Just being able to go after work or on weekends and they’re only a few hours from home. And you always know that you’ll get a consistent rodeo so you know what to expect. Having a consistent, dependable rodeo is one of the biggest things I like about Mid-States.” His main event is calf roping but does some team roping.
Marshal, a Mid-States Rodeo Association member since his high school days, was in junior high when he made the switch from football to rodeo. “We had horses here at home and I started roping on the neighbor’s horse and slowly progressed from there. I was pretty successful in junior high, then I rodeoed in high school and college. The three people that helped me the most were my dad, Mark Peterson, Rusty Kluender, and Troy Pruitt.”
Visualizing the run he wants is the key for Marshal when it’s go time. “It helps to know the different arenas so I can visualize the run. It gives me confidence knowing that I have worked my tail off during the week practicing and mentally preparing. Then when I back into the box it becomes all muscle memory.” Practice at home consists of a lot of tying from the post. “My horse is good enough that he doesn’t need that much work. I’m doing some more weight room work and doing more dieting.”
It was his last college rodeo that produced that one special, memorable run for Marshal. “It was in Dickenson, N.D. The guy that was winning missed in the first round and I made a smart, controlled run and won the first round. I went on to win the average of the rodeo. But that first round run was the one I’ll remember, I even have picture of that run. I call it my iconic run; my career run. I won the year-end saddle for that.”
Marshal’s competition horse, Ricco has become his top calf horse after a dubious beginning with the Petersons’. “He’s a horse that we just happened to buy at a truck stop in Des Moines, Iowa. Nine years later he’s my best calf horse. He’s my horse.”
He says that his father is his biggest influence. “He’s been there every step of the way. He’s not only my hero; he’s my accountability partner making sure that I’m doing the things I need to do and working to achieve my goals. My mother, Kate is there for me too and willing to help. So both my parents are big influences to me. I owe a lot to them.”
Marshal’s living in Ashland, Neb. “I just moved back to Nebraska and will be able to do more Mid-States Rodeos this summer.” During the week Marshal is riding horses for his father and working for him.
Leisure is spending time with his family and girlfriend. “I love spending time with people and building relationships.” His goals are to complete his graduate degree, begin teaching, and pursue a career as a rodeo coach.