Meet the Member Trysten Rawls
story by Lindsay Humphrey All four Rawls boys essentially live and breathe team roping, day and night. At the helm of that passion is Trysten, […]
story by Lindsay King
There is nothing else in the world I would rather be doing day in and out than roping and riding horses,” said 18-year-old Shane Koepnick. The son of five-time NFR bulldogging qualifier, Joey Bell Jr., Shane grew up watching, listening to and traveling with multiple world champions. “I was just born into it really. I have seen pictures from when I first started walking that I had a rope in my hand.” His mom, Syd, worked on the production side of the NFR for more than 17 years. Shane experienced every performance until he started elementary school. Over the summer break, Shane traveled all over the U.S. with Joey and other PRCA cowboys, from rodeo to rodeo. “When Joey was done rodeoing full time, in 2009, it was my turn and I started my rodeo career.”
Shane’s sixth grade year, he started team roping on the heeling side. “I learned from a guy who has the talent to go to the NFR as a heeler, Joe Cox. And we are also good friends with Michael Jones who took me under his wing. I started improving a lot once I began going over to Michael’s house during my freshman year.”
Shane is a Fairland High School senior and finishes school by 1 p.m. everyday. This allows him more time to work with the family bred and raised horses and make trips to the family ranch in South Dakota. “My grandpa passed away a few years ago and my family has stepped up to run the ranch. We go up there every chance we get to help work cows or check things around the pastures. We usually bring some colts back home to work every time, that is pretty much where all of our horses come from.”
With an abundance of colts in the corrals at home, Shane has taken to breaking and training the family-bred horses. “I try and start them for our family, a couple here and there.” Shane is looking into breeding and raising some small-framed horses out of the family stud for rodeo prospects. “I have a little heel horse that NFR heelers used to practice on, he is no more than 13 hands. He is just a jam-up little horse and I cannot even remember how many people have offered to buy him.” Syd’s mom was inspired by Shane’s heel horses’ ability and confirmation to purchase a pony stud from the Fulton sale. “My grandma thought it would be a good business venture for her and I to try raising smaller performance horses to sell.”
It should be no surprise that riding all these colts has given Shane an adrenaline rush only to be quenched by riding saddle broncs for the first time. This year Shane will also team rope with his partner, Kord Kelly, rope calves, and possibly bull dog. “Bull dogging is probably my favorite event. I am not that big but I have been around it all my life. If I could get big enough to start throwing steers down well that would be nice.” Shane plans to get his PRCA card with aspirations to make the finals in a few years and make a living from rodeo. “I am thinking about going to horse dentistry school and learning that trade so I have an extra income on the road.”
On this rodeo road, Shane intends to not only rope but also ride saddle broncs at a professional level. He is thankful for the OHSRA because it is helping him get to the next level in rodeo. Shane’s favorite part of rodeo is traveling all over the country meeting new people. “We have met a crazy amount of wonderful people and become close friends with them.” In the end, it all comes back around to family. “My rodeo role models are my step dad and Michael Jones. But my biggest role model is definitely my mom, she is my biggest supporter. Even when I have a bad run she is always there for me.”
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