Meet the Member
story by Lindsay Humphrey Basically every event that Gracie Lewis can enter in the OKJHSRA is what she’s entered the entire season. Aside from the […]
story by Lindsay King
A triple-threat in the rough stock events, Wacey Schalla from Arapaho, Oklahoma, has his sights set on winning an all-around title at the NFR exclusively out of the bucking chutes. “Bull riding is my favorite of the three because I have been doing it since I was little bitty. I started bareback and saddle bronc just this year. My dad rode saddle broncs, very well I might add,” said the 12-year-old. Wacey credits his parents Luke and Nikki Schalla as the biggest influences in his rodeo career so far. “They have always supported and helped me more than I can ever thank them for. They encourag me to do my best.”
Wacey is lucky that his rodeo role models, Cody Custer and Bill Hext, bring bulls to his house every Thursday. “We have a big rough stock practice pen at my house, so we help young bull riders get on every Thursday. The people I compete against come to my house and we get to practice together.” Wacey stays in shape by running with his mom and riding his horses bareback. “Riding bareback helps me develop my balance, control and strength. I also work on the bucking barrel a lot. But riding horses helps the most.” For the past three years, Wacey has helped his dad train colts. “I buy and sell the bigger ponies, I like riding those a lot. The ponies I train to do everything: rope, goat tie, trail ride, mainly just to make solid kid horses. I put all the money back into rodeo and travel funds so I can keep going.”
The sixth grader is homeschooled through Epic Charter Schools while his 15-year-old sister Madison attends public school. “For me, the best part of everyday is getting to go to work with my dad. He is a farrier, so I just go with him to shoe horses. And then we come home and ride colts. I go with him almost every day.” His dad rode bulls and saddle broncs for a large part of his life, leading Wacey to his current rodeo career. “Naturally, I wanted to do what my dad did. I started on sheep, then moved to calves and steers and now I am starting to ride junior bulls.” In addition to competing in the OKJHSRA, Wacey also rides in the MRCA and YBR of Texas. The YBR World Finals are easily his favorite rodeo. “It is the super bowl of bull riding. They have sheep riding all the way up to junior bulls. I started in the calf riding when I was nine and have made the short round every year.” The biggest rodeo Wacey attends every year, it is the event he rides for all year long.
Named the state champion bull rider and reserve champion bareback rider, Wacey hopes to sweep nationals. “I am setting the saddle bronc riding aside for this year, I still practice it a lot though. One of my goals for next year is a state title in all three events.” Aside from becoming a professional bull riding, Wacey wants to become a pilot. “I think it would be cool to travel all over the world as a commercial pilot. And I could get to rodeos faster.” The hardest part of rodeo is switching gear between his events. “I have to be fast and not get nervous because of the quick turnaround between the bareback and saddle bronc. If I buck off in the bareback, I just shake it off because I have to get on my saddle bronc and just ride.” His mom always tells him that if he says he can, then he will, and if he says he can’t, he won’t. “Being positive is my main strategy for my mental game. Keeping a focused mindset and believing in myself. The mind is a powerful tool in rodeo.”
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