Meet the Member Joe Stoddard
story by Lillian Landreth Many a high school rodeo athlete has been shaped by Joe Stoddard’s contributions to the sport, from his blood relations to […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Sutton Adams had barely made his debut in the roping box before the hard work set in. He started competing in eighth grade, paying his first entry fees in the senior division of 4-H rodeo before joining the SDHSRA. “I had to play catch up a lot with everybody, and it was a pretty good struggle,” says the 18 year old from Dell Rapids, South Dakota. “I turned my dad’s team penning horse into a tie-down horse all by myself. It took two or three years to be pretty good together, and I’m still riding her today.”
Motivation comes from those closest to him. “I feed off the competition, and my parents have helped me a lot. My friends and other family keep my motivated by telling me if I work hard, things are going to happen.” Sutton names his dad, Scott Adams, as his greatest inspiration. Scott started riding bulls when he was 18 and took up team penning after he retired from roughstock. “I’ve always been in to the timed events, and Dad was really supportive of that,” says Sutton, who competes in tie-down roping, chute dogging, and team roping as the header. “He got banged up riding bulls, so he was happy when he found out I was trying to stay on the other side of the arena. He spends a lot of money and time hauling me to these rodeos, plus I have a good group of friends behind me.” Sutton has also learned from PRCA tie-down roper Shane Hanchey. “He’s put on schools in our area and helped me and my friends with the little things that will make us better ropers. He’ll tell you straight up, if you work hard, you’ll get somewhere someday.”
Tie-down roping holds first place on Sutton’s list of favorites, though steer wrestling is growing on him. “I have a couple buddies that were bugging me about trying it, so I started halfway through the season, and I’m liking it a lot more. It’s where I can let loose and have some fun. Tie-down is the event I’ve worked the most at, and it’s technical. You have to have a good horse, or there’s nothing – they make it all happen!” Sutton’s tie-down horse, Rudy, is a 19-year-old Quarter Horse mare, raised and trained by Sutton’s dad. “I asked if I could get her going on roping, and I’m most proud of training her out of anything I’ve done. Last year I was bulldogging off a friend’s horse, but when he went to Nationals, I turned Rudy into a bulldogging horse. She’s getting older, so I’ll find another horse to borrow, and I team rope on Bonsai. We bought him out of Minnesota, and I had to do quite a bit of work with him, but not as much as Rudy!”
Sutton often practices at Paul Sunderman’s arena, and he and his 16-year-old sister, Cheyenne, haul their roping calves along for practice. The brother and sister have team roped together in the SDHSRA the past two years, while Cheyenne also breakaway ropes. “It’s easier to practice, but we have our arguments,” Sutton says with a laugh. “Who wins them depends on the day.” They live with their parents, Scott and Roxie Adams, four miles outside of town, where they often ride the river bottom.
Since graduating from Dell Rapids High School, where he played football and wrestled, Sutton is attending Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington on a rodeo scholarship. He’ll also study Ag. Business. He’s continued to compete in 4-H rodeo this summer, and entered several amateur rodeos in between his summer job putting in water lines for Minnehaha Community Water Corp. “My freshman year, I’d like to make it on the points team for college rodeo, and I’m hoping to try some pro rodeos in the next few years,” Sutton finishes. “I definitely plan on keeping rodeo in my life!”
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