story by Lindsay Humphrey Unlike many of her peers, 13-year-old Sage Putnam didn’t get her start with horses in rodeo. She did, however, always have […]
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Meet the Member Stratton McGhee
story by Lily Weinacht
Stratton McGhee plans to be a stock contractor and bull rider when he grows up, and he’s already hard at work in both careers. The 14-year-old from Colony, Kansas, qualified for the NJHFR in bareback steer riding and light rifle shooting, while he also competes in tie-down roping, ribbon roping with Bella Sauvage, and his favorite event, bull riding. He rode his bulls in the first and third rounds at state finals, and won state champion in the light rifle shooting. Stratton finished in the top 25 of bareback steer riding, and his adventure into Lebanon, Tennessee, also included meeting numerous other kids, roping the dummy with friends, and going to the dances.
This was Stratton’s first time competing at Nationals, while he is the first in his family to compete in roughstock. His dad, Brant McGhee, competed in high school rodeo and team roped in the PRCA. Stratton plans to start team roping in the next few months, and though he’s broken an arm, ankle, and dislocated his shoulder in the bull riding, the adrenaline rush is too addictive to stay away. “I like going and hanging out with my friends, and I love rodeo,” he says. “My favorite (junior high rodeo) is probably Dodge City’s outdoor arena. I like being outside. My dad really helps me out, and so has Derrick Shannon. He helps me out with the bareback, and he used to ride bareback in high school.”
Stratton has several bucking bulls to practice on, and even rides one of his heifers. “One of my bucking bulls is a mini Zebu, and another one is out of the I’m a Gangster bull that was in the PBR. I also have some bucking chutes so I can get on them, usually when I have two of my friends, Nick Vaughan and Clay Shannon, come over. My dad shoes horses, so he’s traveling all the time, but he comes and helps when he’s home.” Stratton’s dad drove out with the family to Nationals, then flew back and forth several times to work and return to watch him compete.
Along with growing his herd of bucking bulls, Stratton stays busy riding his tie-down and ribbon roping horse, PacRat, whom he also plans to compete on in the team roping. PacRat found his forever home with the McGhee family when Stratton’s dad purchased the gelding from one of his clients. “They had won a youth world on PacRat in the heeling, and they met Stratton and decided he would be a good fit for PacRat. There’s not much we don’t find pretty special about him!” says Danelle, Stratton’s mom.
Stratton’s sister, Callie, 17, competes in breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing, and reining cow horse. She broke the arena record at the KHSRA state finals with a 1.81 in the breakaway roping, and plans to college rodeo for Missouri Valley College this fall. Brinley, 11, competes in barrel racing and pole bending, and Gentry, 10, likes to tie goats. The siblings practice together, and their family recently built a new house on 80 acres. “There’s a lot of ponds I can fish in and trees I can hunt in, and I like to drive our Gator around and there’s lot of land to do that on,” says Stratton. He also works for his grandpa and uncle in the summer, cutting silage and hay and working cattle. In the fall and winter, they go hunting, and Stratton especially enjoys coon hunting, along with quail and pheasant.
He’s entering his freshman year at Crest High School, and likes running and lifting weights in P.E.. Stratton also plays on the football team, along with baseball and playing on a traveling basketball team this summer. In addition to that, he’ll be rodeoing in the NLBRA this fall. His goals include practicing his roping more, keeping up his bareback and bull riding, and ultimately, becoming a professional bull rider and owning a nice herd of bucking bulls.