story by Lindsay Humphrey Quinter Weatherred can remember the first buckle he won just two years ago at a Little Britches rodeo in Hugo, Colorado. […]
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Meet the Member Blake Stutzman
story by Lindsay Humphrey
There is almost nothing Blake Stutzman loves more than the sport of rodeo. It’s clear in the way he talks about it, but it’s even more evident in the way he spends his time. “If I could ride a horse all day long, I would,” said the 13-year-old KJHSRA competitor. In his final junior high season, Blake is taking every opportunity to be in the arena by competing in chute dogging, ribbon, calf and team roping, and goat tying. He’s grown exceptionally fond of tie-down roping as he’s honed his skills over the last year.
“If I have a rough day and I go rope calves, it helps me feel better. It’s my best event right now.” Blake’s grandpa, Jerry Stutzman, was a calf roper before him. And Blake is set on carrying on the family tradition. His dad, Toby, was a bull dogger at one point in his life and Blake has his sights set on continuing that tradition as well. However, it was Blake’s grandparents that got all three of the Stutzman siblings–Spencer, 20, and Ava, 17– into rodeo originally. “When I was little my siblings were roping, so I just roped with them. It just went from there.”
From age 9 to 11, Blake set his rope aside as he tried his hand with ball sports. “My mind wasn’t really focused on rodeo at the time, and I was too young to really appreciate it. Not to mention I wasn’t as competitive then as I am now.” It was just two years ago that Blake’s parents, Toby and Mandy, got a new team roping horse and he swung back into the saddle for good. “I started riding again and I found my love for rodeo. Now here I am. It took me about a year to get good enough to start doing well though.”
It’s been during these tough times that Blake leans into his faith the most. “When things get hard or something bad happens, I just pray about it. I always have God by my side.” Blake is proud of everything he’s done in his life so far, but his crowning achievement is his decision to be a follower of Christ. Luckily, Blake has plenty of positive role models here on earth to look up to as he continues that walk with the Lord. “I really like Trevor Brazile, Tuff Cooper and Marty Yates. All of the calf ropers really. When a rodeo is on tv or I’m at one, I don’t miss a minute of the calf roping.” Much like his favorite ropers, Blake has spent many late nights roping the dummy, both when he was learning the trade and now as he’s striving to improve.
There are plenty of lessons Blake’s learned from those late-night practice sessions and empty loops. “When I’m happy and have a smile on my face, I rope a whole lot better.” It’s very rare that you’ll find Blake without a smile and a good attitude, it’s truly just his personality. And at most KJHSRA events, he’s running around with his buddies just doing what 13-year-old boys will do. Most of the time that’s roping the dummy at the trailer.
Just this spring Blake was struck with some bad luck when his horse died in the practice pen. “We were going about 25 miles an hour and he just collapsed on me. He must’ve had a heart attack or stroke. He was pretty young.” It wasn’t until two weeks later that Blake’s chiropractor let him know that he dislocated his collar bone and tore his rotator cuff in the accident. “I didn’t think anything was wrong because I still competed in Dodge City the weekend after it happened. I just toughed out the pain and kept roping almost every day.” Blake still has his main mount for his eighth-grade season in the KJHSRA. And when it’s time to rodeo, that’s about all Blake can focus on. “Even a week before the rodeo, that’s where my head is at. My mind is memorizing those runs and I can hardly sleep at night. I take it very seriously.”