Meet the Rodeo Company Rockin’ K Rodeo
story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
story by Siri Stevens
Taylor and Austin Joseph from Benton, Kentucky, had a very special IFR48. “It was completely bittersweet for both of us,” said the 24-year-old mother of two, who happens to be married to the 2017 IPRA World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, Austin. The bittersweet comes from the fact that she retired her 20-year-old breakaway and barrel horse, Peppys Non Stop, Peppy, or Old Faithful. “I know that horse could go a couple more years, but I said I was going to retire him and I did.” Part of the plan is to save Old Faithful as a starter horse for the kids.
Taylor started Peppy when she was in the fourth grade. “I had the whole dream of being a rodeo kid and my stepdad got this horse from his dad at a sale barn. I rode him for the first time at the house and told my stepdad that he made my butt smile.” Taylor got her interest in rodeo from her aunt. “My family trail rides, they don’t rodeo. We went to the little jackpots growing up. I took it upon myself to get the horse and train him the way I needed him and that’s what we did.”
Peppy took Taylor to the All Around in fifth grade, their first year competing, and then he took her to the National Junior High finals all three years, followed by the national High School finals for three years. “I didn’t rodeo my senior year because I joined the IPRA and made the finals in the barrels and breakaway. Taylor was the reserve 2012 IPRA Champion in both events and took home Rookie of the Year.
She was going to school at Murray State University, majoring in biology with a focus on Physical Therapy and met Austin. “He met my mom (Wendy) on a trail ride and two years later we were married.” She plans to return to school once her children are in school themselves.
Austin works for a John Deere dealership, and Taylor is a stay-at-home mom. “We have a family farm and he works for the farm as well.” They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. With his job, he travels to the farm operations and programs their computers to autopilot the row crops. The computer will know what fertilizer to put where when Austin puts the prescription in the tractor.
The horses are kept at home, and there is an arena there, but due to the current deluge of rain, the practicing is happening at the college indoor arena. Taylor loads both kids up and they head there. Kade is two and Kora is four and they both love the horses. “Any chance we get to go out to the barn she’s ready to ride.” She has a new horse that she’s running in the barrels, 8-year-old Shade of an Oak, Soulshine, who she got from Lone Star Rodeo Company. Kora is now riding the retired Peppy.
Austin had only been riding broncs for two years when they met, and he loved it. “I am a perfectionist, so I was determined to be good at it,” he said. “It was the fall of my junior year at Murray State and I had been riding horses for a cutting trainer and the rodeo coach asked me if I’d get on a few bucking horses. I actually got on 14 horses one night during practice and over time I learned the technique and got the muscle memory built up.” Austin bought his first horse when he was 16, trading his 300 Honda for him. After he started riding bucking horses in college, he started roping and at the end of college he was bulldogging some too. He’s added calf roping to his abilities.His mom and dad faithfully came to all his college rodeos as well as the Finals in Casper, Wyoming. “My sister and I played the national anthem before the short round at the Finals. I played the violin since I was five years old and we played a duet at the college finals at the short round my last year, 2012.” Austin graduated from Murray State with a degree in Ag Systems technology and went on to get his Masters in Ag Science with a specialty in Ag Systems Technology.
Winning the 2017 IPRA World Championship was bittersweet for Austin, who lost his father on Thanksgiving Day. “Dad went with me every year to the IFR and the College Finals. I’d never been to one without him.” It was never a goal of Austin’s to win the Finals. “I’ve always had responsibilities at home and couldn’t go hard enough to win it, so this year when I had a lead in the first of June I made it a goal to win the world.” His responsibilities include his fulltime job with John Deere and helping his Uncle run the 4,000 acre family farm.
The Josephs are going to make a shot at the Finals again this year. “We are going to go again this year, and I’m going to try to make it in the calf roping too this year.
For the beginning of the season getting to the rodeos will be easy. “We have a lot of winter rodeos, LoneStar rodeos, close to home,” said Taylor. “We’re at the point now if God keeps blessing us and we keep making money, we will keep hauling. We are leaving it in God’s hands and going weekend by weekend.”
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