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Meet the Member Baler Raymond
story by Michele Toberer
Baler Raymond is in his second season with Louisiana High School Rodeo Association’s junior high division, where all-around cowboy aspirations are at the forefront of his competition. He competes in practically every event available to cowboys his age, and with quite a bit of success. The 12-year-old homeschooler, from Oak Grove, Louisiana, was the Louisiana state champion bull rider and bareback steer rider his rookie season. This year started off just as he hoped, and after competing at the first rodeo of the season in Crowley, Louisiana in bull riding, saddle bronc steers, team roping, ribbon roping, breakaway roping, and goat tying, Baler placed well enough in his events to win the champion all-around cowboy title at the rodeo, along with his double-cousin, Sage Raymond, who won the all-around cowgirl title that day.
Baler is grateful to have a family full of rodeo athletes to learn from. His parents, Amy and Pete Raymond are very involved rodeo parents, although Pete’s position as a welder foreman for Pilgrim Construction often keeps him from attending many rodeos. When he has the time, Pete competes at team roping jackpots in the area. Amy works as a supervisor for West Carroll Home Care, and you can often find her supervising rodeos, as the secretary for the Deep South Little Britches Rodeo Association. It’s especially rewarding for the family to watch as Baler rides his older brother Dusty’s 21-year-old grey Quarter horse, Red Bone, for heeling, breakaway roping, and ribbon roping.
Baler is on LHSRA’s Cinch Rodeo team this season where his ribbon roping partner is Emma Walker, and his team roping partner is his cousin, Sage. “It’s great being able to practice with my cousin at our Papaw Petey’s house.” Petey Raymond is the father of Baler’s dad Pete, and Sage’s dad, Brad. Baler’s Uncle Brad is the one who helped him get started in bull riding when he was just 5 years old. “Bull riding is my favorite event., I love the adrenaline rush I get when I ride. It’s so exciting because you never know what’s going to happen when you ride; it’s always something different. My favorite bull riders are JB Mauney and Chase Outlaw, they are both so tough and give it all they’ve got.” Baler appreciates the help he gets from Heath and Cody DeMoss in saddle bronc steers and is very glad he’s in a family that can help him as much as they do in rodeo. “I’ve learned practically everything from my parents and grandparents. It’s also great that I have cousins that rodeo too. I lost my goat tying horse, Cowboy, to colic a couple months ago, and Sage lets me ride her horse, Jumper.” Sage and Baler’s moms, Amy and Tracy, are married to brothers, Pete and Brad. Amy and Tracy’s mom, Pat Buskirk, is generally on the road with the families, “Memaw Pat goes everywhere with us, she’s our travel partner.”
As a mainly straight-A 7th grader, the determined Baler looks to his future and has goals of attending McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, so that he can college rodeo and study to become a veterinarian. He also has big goals of becoming a world champion bull rider and team roper. For now, he enjoys his junior rodeo days with LHSRA and hopes to qualify for the national junior high rodeo finals for the second consecutive season. “There are such nice people in the association, and I have friends there that are good people and like to help out a lot.” Baler enjoys spending time bass fishing and deer hunting with family and friends when he’s not studying or practicing for rodeo. “The main thing is, I give all my thanks for everything to the man upstairs.”