Meet the Member Eli Woodyard
story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
story by Lindsay King
Not many people can rope with a sibling but 14-year-old Taylor Kuntz from Johns Island, South Carolina, does just that. “He always knows his partner is going to show up and they can practice together,” said Katherine, his mom. Taylor’s 16-year-old sister, Bailey, is the reason everyone got back into roping in the first place. “Chris [their dad] was roping a lot when Taylor was about five and he took the next three years off. We thought we were going to get out of horses but then Bailey said she wanted rodeo so we got back into it.” Katherine grew up in the cattle industry and spends most of her time on the road with her kids. “We travel about 40 weekends of the year. If we are not at some kind of high school rodeo or JSRA, we are looking for a barrel race or team roping to go.” For the time being, Chris mostly fills in for Bailey when Taylor needs a header. “Professional chute help” is his self-proclaimed title for the time being. “We mostly keep roping steers here for the kids to practice on but we have some Angus cattle also.” Taylor originally started out as a header but switched to the heeling side of things. “He swaps out with his sister sometimes. Roping with siblings can be pretty tough, they get into arguments sometimes. They hold each other to pretty high standards though.”
Taylor thinks roping with his sister helps make him better. “Everything is always the others’ fault. She is a lot harder on me than anybody else and that pushes me,” Taylor said. Their dad ropes with Taylor at a lot of jackpots and US roping events. “I have been team roping for as long as I can remember but I also rope calves, chute dog and tie goats.” He team roped with Bailey in the JSRA last year. “My favorite part about the JSRA is getting to see all my friends and making a whole lot more. I also get to travel across the country. I go to a whole lot more places than I would if I did not rodeo.” A three-time national qualifier, his favorite rodeo was last year’s nationals. “I probably competed my best out there and met a lot of new people. And this year was just too muddy.” Taylor was the state champion in boys breakaway roping last year, earning him the trip to nationals. Also in 2016, Bailey and Taylor won the first round in the team roping at the JSRA finals. “My proudest run so far was at the Michael Hare Memorial Team Roping this past January. There were 113 teams and we did not get started until two in the morning.” Taylor finished his final year in junior high rodeo as the number four chute dogger, fifth in the ribbon roping with his partner Taylor Pierce and seventh in the breakaway roping.
Taylor will be a freshman this year in South Carolina Virtual Charter Schools where his favorite subjects to study are history and science. “I played football for a year and baseball for five. I was little when I first started baseball but then I decided to focus on rodeo. We could not do both so I have been doing rodeo ever since.” Taylor has few hobbies outside of roping and rodeo, but he does like to hunt and fish. The biggest game he has brought home was an eight-point buck last November. “I just got my new calf and heel horse, Cheerio. He is a ten-year-old, line-back dun and he is super patient in the box. The horse I had before him I gave to my sister because they got along better.” Staying true to his love for travel and rodeo, Taylor plans to go to school anywhere west of the Mississippi and continue to rope in college and beyond.
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