Meet the Member Emma Thompson
story by Lindsay Humphrey “I got a really late start in rodeo, I was 13 or 14 when I started going to jackpots and junior […]
by Lily Weinacht
Sean Doherty of Kim, Colorado, is sitting fifth in the KHSRA tie-down roping. The 17 year old also team ropes, recently switching from heeling to heading for Pepper Brown, and though he loves both events, tie-down roping edges just above on his list of favorites. “I think it’s because that’s the event I watched my dad compete in, and I always wanted to do it growing up.” Sean and his 13-year-old brother, Matt, are the fifth generation of their family to ranch, and the fourth generation to rodeo. “Our great-grandfather was part of a local roping club in a town not far from us, and both our grandma and grandpa rodeoed collegiately,” Sean describes. Their dad, Joe Doherty, pro rodeoed regionally, but now focuses on helping his sons with their rodeo careers.
“I’m super competitive, probably to the point of a fault,” says Sean. “Rodeo is a huge undertaking, and sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have rodeo taking up my time, but it’s part of my life, and I want to be great at it.” He looks up to a number of people, chiefly his dad, adding, “Brian Taylor and his family have helped me out a lot, and Brent Lewis is my rodeo idol. My granddad has also helped me a lot, and so have Charlie Mitchell and Garrett Godfrey. I can’t mention everyone who’s helped me, but I want to thank my family especially, and everybody who’s helped me along the way.”
Sean rides several horses, including MJ – short for Michael Jordan – in the heading, Slash in the heeling, and Magic in the tie-down roping. “MJ is really big, and people don’t believe me until they’re standing next to him,” says Sean. “He’s been a big part of my success in heading. I named my heel horse Slash because I’m a Guns N’ Roses fan, and I’ve been riding Magic since junior high, so he’s pretty close to my heart. I just got a new calf horse, Mouse, and I’m excited to see what he and I do together. I also have my old faithful, Timon, who was my first rodeo horse.”
When he’s not practicing, Sean helps his parents, Joe and Lisa Doherty, run their ranch outside of Kim. “I’m the go-to guy for whatever my dad needs, and I’m very involved in the ranch. My great-great grandfather came over from Ireland in the late 1800s. He started a business in Folsom, New Mexico, during the Great Depression, and acquired land grants from people paying off their debts. He acquired land from a little south of Folsom to just before La Junta and split the ranch between his sons and daughters. My great grandfather got two of the ranches, which went to my great grandmother and then my grandfather, and now we live on it.” Sean put together a presentation on the history of his family’s ranch for Kim High School, where he’s a senior. He particularly enjoys Ag. and journalism, and it was the school’s first year to put out a newspaper, with Sean working on the writing and editing. He also plays basketball, and is involved in the FFA yearbook and NHS Student Council.
Any free time is spent with his family or learning to play guitar. “It’s really frustrating to play, but I still enjoy it, and I love music. I listen to 90s country, and I like newer country until about 2005. I’d say rock is my favorite – my dad would play AC/DC when we started going to rodeos,” he explains.
Following high school, Sean’s next goal is college rodeo. “I also want to find a career that sustains me for a long time, but I want to do something that I love, whether it’s journalism or coming back to work on the ranch. I’d like to college rodeo and compete professionally, and go wherever life takes me!”
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