story by Lindsay Humphrey As a first-generation rodeo athlete, Abree Ensey and her 16-year-old sister, Paige, are figuring things out as they go along. They […]
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Meet the Member Tanner Meier
story by Lily Weinacht
Even though he puts his cowboy hat on his bed – or perhaps because of it –Tanner Meier took home his first state title this June when he won 2017 KJHSRA All-Around Cowboy. The 14-year-old from Garden City, Kansas, went into state finals confident in himself and his horses. “I felt good about everything, and I just tried to go out and make the best runs I could,” he says. “My favorite (KJHSRA) rodeo is state finals at the Dodge City Expo Center. It’s a really nice facility with nice stalls, and everything about it is just great
Tanner started the unconventional practice of putting his hat on his bed before a rodeo several years ago. “People say it’s bad luck, but it’s good luck for me. Sometimes the rodeo goes downhill or uphill, but there’s always the Lord there for me.” He qualified for the NJHFR in tie-down roping, team roping with heeler Jesse Boos, goat tying, and his favorite event of chute dogging. Tanner has also competed in ribbon roping with his cousin Kiley Slavin. He finished ninth in the world in chute dogging, and also advanced to the short-go in tie-down roping. He’s moving up to steer wrestling in the KHSRA this year, using the custom-made saddle he won in the KJHSRA. “Steer wrestling is going good so far,” he says, “and I’ve taken some crashes every now and then, but I still really enjoy it.”
Tanner was inspired by his parents, Shelley and Jason Meier, to start rodeoing when he was five, and he has the support of his entire family. “There have been a bunch of people who have helped me. My parents; my aunt and uncle, Kelley and Rowdy Slavin; Rusty Slavin; and Jule Hazen. He had a bull dogging school I went to that helped me out a bunch. I’d also like to thank JD Draper – he’s helped me with all my events and been a really good friend and like a brother to me – and Payson Crouch for helping me with team roping. My big brother, Trevor Meier, helps me big time and is always in the practice pen with me.”
Practice also includes the rest of Tanner’s family helping out, along with his grandparents, Larry and Esther Johnston, who come to watch and support him, and his nine-year-old brother, Tyler. “He has special needs, but he’s always out in the practice pen with us, and he has a pony he’s getting to where he can ride by himself in the arena. He’s one of my favorite little kids!” Tanner practices daily, riding his calf horse, CJ, and team roping and goat tying horse, Charlie. The Meiers also have practice steers, goats, and calves, which Tanner and Trevor are in charge of caring for.
The Meier family makes their home 15 miles outside of Garden City. “There’s a lot of sand, and the wind blows, but there’s something I just love about it, and it’s somewhere I always want to go back to,” says Tanner. He’s a freshman this fall at Garden City Virtual Academy, doing the bulk of his school from home. “My favorite subject is probably math, and I like algebra. I’ve been homeschooled since third grade and I’ve loved every minute of it. It lets me get more involved with rodeo, and I can spend more time with my horses and my family.” Tanner also enjoys hunting and fishing with his dad and older brother, particularly deer hunting near their home.
Along with competing at the NJHFR this summer, Tanner competed in the NLBFR in breakaway roping, dally ribbon roping, and goat tying. He’s competed in the association since he started rodeoing, and Trevor also competed at the finals in steer wrestling, team roping, and tie-down roping. “Rodeo is just something that I crave to do every single year, and it’s something that I love,” says Tanner. “One thing I’d really like to accomplish is to win a national title in high school or Little Britches.”