story by Lindsay Humphrey “I like that the people in the KPRA are good, hard-working folks who generally compete as a hobby,” said Scott Vander […]
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Meet the Member Maverick Harper
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Maverick Harper is the 2017 Kansas Pro Rodeo Association’s All-Around champion.
The Alva, Okla. man, originally from Iowa, Louisiana, via Stephenville, Texas, competed in the steer wrestling and tie-down roping for the KPRA, and in college at Northwestern Oklahoma State, is also team roping, heading for Tanner Nall in collegiate rodeo.
Harper’s KPRA competition came nearly by accident. He began rodeoing at Tyler Garten’s two-day rodeos in Kingman, Kan., having no idea they were KPRA sanctioned. He did well at them, when his friends asked, ‘are you going to get your KPRA card?’ Harper hadn’t considered it, but his friends urged him to, telling him the KPRA finals was a good rodeo and worth qualifying for.
So he and his buddies Ethan Price and Cody Devers sat down one night and mapped out the KPRA rodeos they’d like to go to, and they jumped in the truck. “We went to 48 rodeos together, that were either first (approved) KPRA or at least KPRA approved,” Harper said. They traveled with three horses: Devers’ bulldogging horse, Price’s hazing horse, and Harper’s tie-down horse (he was the only roper in the rig.) “We didn’t come home for four weeks,” he said. “We got to know each other a little better, that’s for sure.”
Harper’s first event as a kid in Louisiana was tie-down roping; when his mother, Debra, married Gary Green, a seven-time National Finals Rodeo steer wrestling qualifier, he began bulldogging. He was just starting high school when the family moved to Stephenville, to Gary’s place, and it was a good move. “It was a big step in rodeo,” to move to Texas, Harper said. “It helped me realize there was tougher competition.” He qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in the steer wrestling in 2014, his senior year of high school.
He, Price and Devers had fun on the road this summer. They took their golf clubs and played a few times, and enjoyed some adult beverages as well. “We’re college kids, so we might have slipped to a bar or two on the road,” Harper quipped. If they had several days of down time, they’d stay at a friend’s house and practice or score horses.
Harper is ranked in the top ten in the Central Plains Region in the roping events and top fifteen in the steer wrestling. He’s never qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo; his sophomore year, he finished fifth in the steer wrestling. And in June of 2016, he tore his patella tendon and stressed the MCL in a knee, requiring lots of rehab and no tie-down roping till that November.
He is in his last year at Northwestern, and will graduate next May with a degree in business administration with a marketing minor. After college, he will buy his PRCA permit for a second year, and in 2019, try to win the Resistol Rookie All-Around race. He’d love to win all three of his events but the all-around is more special.
Harper will move back to Stephenville, too, where he’ll buy the place his parents are living on. They want to downsize, and they’ll take care of things while he’s on the rodeo road.