Meet the Member Gentry Godbey
story by Ruth Nicolaus Gentry Godbey has a bright, sparkly personality. The cowgirl, a Colorado Junior High School Rodeo member, is upbeat, positive, and a […]
story by Lily Weinacht
When a friend from school told Tyler Kippes about mutton busting, he was immediately gripped by the thrill of the sport. He took home his first buckle several months later from the Greeley Stampede, and eight years later, the bull rider from Eaton, Colorado, is sitting second in the CJHSRA standings. As the 2016 state bull riding champion his rookie year, Tyler aims to defend his title and return to the NJHFR, where he finished eighth in the nation last year.
“I must be an adrenaline junky, because I was hooked from the start,” says 14-year-old Tyler. “I tried chute dogging a little last fall, but I got drug down the arena a little ways and I was out of breath before my bull riding, so I decided I’m better off riding them then throwing them.” While Tyler loves the adrenaline, his favorite moment is when the buzzer sounds. “I love that when you step off the bull, you’ve overcome obstacles that were meant to be in your way. I like to put it that bull riding is like a slot machine – you give it your all every time, and you don’t always come out on top, but that just gives you the drive to go even further with it.”
Tyler has an arena, chutes, and seven bucking bulls to practice on, which have come from Wyoming, New Mexico, and Tyler’s home state. He’s joined in the practice pen by Mana Kaia and PRCA bull rider Cody Johansen, while Tyler’s mom, Michelle Kippes, runs the video camera. He’s also coached by Kody Lostroh, the 2009 PBR World Champion, who runs his Shield of Faith Cattle Company not far from Tyler’s home. “I first met Kody at the Mountain State Young Guns finals that I started rodeoing with, and at the end of 2015, he asked me to get on one of his bulls,” says Tyler. “I was a little rusty then and asked Kody to help me with my riding, and he’s taken me under his wing. I don’t look up to him just because he’s a world champion and a great bull rider; I also look up to him because of his morals and the way he handles himself out of the arena. He’s humble and treats everyone with respect.”
An eighth grader, Tyler is homeschooled, working through an online curriculum that gives him more flexibility to travel to rodeos. “I enjoy physics, and as complicated as it may be, it’s given me an understanding about the world and how everything happens.” Tyler also works part time for Mountain States Cattle Company, helps friends build fence, and bucks his bulls once a week. “Mountain States has ropings that I push steers for, and I’ll do some welding for Big Dog Excavation. Cody Johansen’s uncle taught me the basics of welding, and I’ve experimented and developed my own style.”
This year, Tyler is also competing in the NLBRA, with plans to qualify for the 2017 NLBFR. “Back in 2015 when I was riding mini bulls, I rode in the Colorado Springs Built Ford Tough PBR, which was quite a blast,” says Tyler. “My goal is to qualify for both the Little Britches and the National Junior High finals, use my talent to the best of my ability, and have fun while I’m doing it! I just love getting on bulls everywhere I go. The biggest thing is to focus on my riding and give all the glory to God.”
Rodeo Newstm (ISSN 1934-5224) is published 12 times a year, semi-monthly May-Nov; once in Dec Jan, Feb., March, and April by Publication Printers, 2001 S. Platte River Drive, Denver, Colo., 80223. Iris Ink, Inc., parent company of Rodeo News is located at 3604 WCR 54G, Laporte, Colo., 80535. Subscriptions are $30 per year. Periodicals postage paid at LaPorte, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rodeo News, PO Box 842, LaPorte, Colo., 80535.
Canada Post (CPC) publication #40798037. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Rodeo News carries advertising and editorials as a service to the readers. However, publication of advertisements and editorials in Rodeo News does not commit Rodeo News to agree with or guarantee any of the merchandise or livestock advertised.