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Meet the Member: Ora Taton
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Ora Taton has been involved in rodeo all his life. He was born in Oklahoma where his mom and dad were living, and his dad Ralph and Uncle Walt were rodeoing.
Soon the family moved north and settled on a ranch in South Dakota where Ora’s earliest memories of rodeo really begin.
From junior rodeo, and National Little Britches Association, to high school, amateur and pro rodeo, the sport has been his life and has helped him grow. Of all the events, it was roping that really caught Ora’s interest.
“I always told everybody calf roping was the event to do, and team roping was just another event until I started steer roping, and it kind of put them both the same,” Ora laughs, explaining that his main focus professionally beyond his circuit rodeos is steer roping, but he does all three events where he can and is the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association Heeling Director.
“The directorship deal kind of fell into my lap, but I needed it. It’s a good experience. Everybody should do it just to know what goes on on that side of the coin,” he says.
Volunteering for the position meant that Ora took on the responsibilities of helping to grow the finals sponsorships, and he was been successful over the three years he’s served so far.
It’s just one way Ora can give back to the sport that runs in his blood.
“You get to meet so many people and there’s so many different aspects to it that you have to work on,” Ora says of rodeo and adds, “that’s been my life; ride horses, train horses, sell horses. You rope, and you meet people, so rodeo and Western life is just a hand-in-hand deal. It’s made my life interesting.”
Outside of rodeo, Ora and his wife Jeri have a place on the north side of Rapid City, S.D. Ora’s brother still runs the family ranch, and Ora works in outdoor structure construction. Jeri works for the Parks and Recreation Department, and they have three children. The youngest, Cortney, is 13 and involved in music, sons Jordan and Tyrel are grown, and Tyrel lives with Ora’s parents back in Oklahoma where he rodeos and ropes professionally like his dad.