story by Lindsay King Third generation rodeo competitor 13-year-old Libby Berger from Udall, Kansas, has a need for speed. “Barrels or breakaway roping is my […]
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Meet the Member Troy Gaston
story by Kyle Eustice
Walking into Troy Gaston’s Hutchinson, Kansas, home, trophies, saddles, photographs, and buckles line the walls, a small glimpse into what he’s accomplished over the past couple of decades in the rodeo world. The 39-year-old has been rodeoing his entire life. He faced one of his biggest challenges of his career a month ago, when he found out his 17-year-old horse, Warbuck, had a tumor, which caused heart failure. Sadly, he had to put his beloved horse down.
“It was devastating for me,” admitted Troy. “I have a couple young horses that are coming along, and I was going to hand Warbuck over to my kids. I’m riding younger horse than I’d like to now. He will never be replaced.”
According to Troy, Warbuck had all the right tools and a great big personality to go along with them. “He was like a little fat kid that was always happy,” joked Troy. “He loved to eat and always did his job. He was a keeper.”
Troy joined the CePRA in the early ‘90s and initially focused on roping calves, but eventually started team roping. During the last 10 years, anything Troy won, he won with Warbuck.
“He was the man around here for quite awhile,” said Troy. “He taught me a lot more than I probably taught him.”
Troy attended Kansas State University to study agriculture, but ultimately made the decision to work with his father, Tony Gaston, at his trucking company. He usually gets done working in the afternoon and then practices with his children, stepson Tegan, 13, and daughter Kenzie, 8. They all rodeo together.
“Tegan went to the Junior High National Finals in 2015 and got second in the nation in breakaway,” said Troy. “My daughter is just getting started. She does little stuff like poles and barrels. It truly is a family affair.” Troy has been team roping with his partner Jake McCullough for the past four years. They have team roping down to a fine science. “I heel and he heads,” explained Troy. “We are on the same page about everything.”
The people keep him coming back year after year. Now that his friends have children, they see each other more often than they used to. It’s more about friends and family than it is competition.
“The guys I compete against I’ve known for a long time,” said Troy. “All of my friends have kids now, so it’s like we are all rodeoing together. It’s kind of like a built in family. Some of the guys that I high school rodeoed with have kids that are the same age as mine.”
Troy won the all around for the CPRA in 2011, 2012 and 2013, which he says was “a big deal” to him.
His wife Kyla even got in on the action. After getting married in 2008, they started rodeoing together. Although she’s in between horses right now, she’s still team roping. Neither of them have experienced any injuries lately, but when Troy was 11, he broke his arm.
“I was trying to be a rough stock rider,” recalled Troy. “I thought it would be smart to ride a roping steer, but he bucked me off. I decided I’d be a timed event cowboy. It changed my direction.”
His direction changed once again as soon as he became a father. Everything is about his children these days.
“All of my stuff is geared towards my children now,” said Troy. “I’m big on starting my own horses and training horses. In the future, I just want to make sure my kids have good horses to ride.”
In addition to the remaining CePRA rodeos and finals in October, he has a memorial rodeo coming up for Chance and Jake Ramsey, a father and son who passed away within weeks of each other. It really helps to have his rodeo family around him.
“Loving what you do is important,” said Troy. “I want to help people in the process and hope they remember I’m good with horses. That’s all I want.”