story by Lindsay Humphrey Last fall Colton Sand made a big splash in his final OHSRA season. Although his performance dipped in the middle a […]
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Meet the Member Chance Thiessen
story by Lindsay King
“He makes me want to work harder just because I know that he can’t do everything that everyone else does. I don’t want to take what I can do for granted,” said Chance Thiessen, Elk City, Oklahoma, about his younger brother Brody who was born with cerebral palsy. The 16-year-old roper is inspired by his younger brother, something he openly admits. “Brody just has so much fun competing in rodeo, he always has a smile on his face. He wants to win of course but it’s such a care free type of competitive drive.” Taking life for granted is not something the Thiessen family does. After a close brush with death in Las Vegas, Chance knows he is blessed to be alive much less still competing.
The high school junior found himself team roping in the 15 at the South Point outdoor arena last December. “It was the second round when my horse fell on me. I got knocked out initially and then my horse rolled completely over me. He stepped on my head when he was trying to get back up.” Chance was presumed to have major brain damage and his stay at the hospital was supposed to be extensive. “I was out of there in three days and back to roping in a month. I had a minor traumatic brain injury with a major concussion. They said that if I knock my head again it could be more serious than it would be for a normal person.”
Stepping back up on a horse was easy for Chance, but it took some time to get back into the swing of things. However, the horse he rode in Vegas is now retired because of arthritis in his neck. “I can remember the first roping I entered, I was only six. I made my first USTRC finals when I was seven. It has just grown from there.” Chance tries to like roping calves and steers the same, but picks tie-down roping as his favorite when he has to choose. “It requires so much work and it feels a lot better when you win something at a high level.”
Surrounded by rodeo and horses every day, this high school junior wouldn’t have it any other way. In his fifth year of homeschooling, Chance describes himself as a hired hand for his dad Kent. “My dad trains rope horses, so I help him with that. We ride calf horses in the morning and team roping horses in the afternoon. He has helped me the most with my rodeo career because he knows so much about it, especially about how to keep a horse working well.” His mom Lindsey is more than just the four-wheeler pilot and moral support, she also helps with the entering.
“We have always been told you have to be mentally strong in this sport, but this last year has really taught me how important that lesson is.” Just like anyone else, Chance works each day for a shot at a national title and another trip to Vegas to ride under the big lights one day. Though his favorite rodeo memory is in his home state, in the town of Pawhuska. “We went to a calf roping jackpot there where they had a twenty-foot start just like Cheyenne. It was fun to chase the calf down instead of it just being a slinging contest like usual. It was the best event I have been to.” Though it was in the middle of the arena in Vegas where Chance had the best rodeo luck of all. “Trey Johnson is a cowboy minister who team ropes and he was in the arena praying for me after the accident. I really believe he saved my life. They said I was minutes away from dying and needed a miracle. Prayer really did it.”