Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Meet the Member Tanner Phillips
story by Rayne Sherman
The 2015 rodeo season was 18 year old Tanner Phillips of Clinton, Mich., first as a member of the Mid States Rodeo Association (MSRA). Tanner qualified for his first Mid States Finals Rodeo, won the Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year title, and finished the year fifth in the bareback riding standings.
Tanner’s dad, Jeremy, was a bullfighter and barrelman and when Tanner was five he began traveling to rodeos around the country with him to help with acts. Jeremy and Tanner also traveled with friend and barrelman Radical Ryan Rodriguez helping with his acts. Tanner began riding sheep when he was four years old, but stopped when he was seven. After taking a break from riding, Tanner got on his first bull when he was 12. Jeremy thought Tanner wouldn’t like bull riding after trying it, but he was wrong and Tanner rode bulls for the next six years. Tanner joined the Youth Bull Riding Association and qualified for its finals three times. When he was a sophomore in high school he joined the Michigan High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) and competed in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. He qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo three times, was the MHSRA bareback riding champion twice, the MHSRA saddle bronc riding champion twice, and the MHSRA all-around champion once. Tanner began competing in bareback riding when he was 14 and saddle bronc when he was 16. He enjoys the horse riding events more than bull riding and got on his last bull last fall at his hometown rodeo. “The horse events really get my adrenaline going. I like bareback over saddle bronc because I got the hang of it quicker, but I think once I get saddle bronc down pat I will like them equally,” said Tanner. Tanner decided to join the MSRA last year because his dad had been a member and the rodeos were close to home. Being an MSRA member gave Tanner the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
Outside of rodeo, Tanner works for a large dairy farm in Adrian, Mich. He graduated from high school last year and has been looking at various schools to start college this coming fall. He would like to attend Fort Scott Community College for two years and possibly transfer to Murray State University. Tanner’s goal is to be an equine dentist.
Tanner’s mom, Brenda Lamkin, and his extended family are all very supportive of his rodeo career and watch him ride as often as they can. One thing Tanner has appreciated throughout his rodeo career has been the support from his dad. “My dad helped me get into rodeo and anything I have ever needed, he has been there for me,” stated Tanner.