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Meet the Member Chizm Kuykendall
story by Lindsay Humphrey
In the three years Chizm Kuykendall competed in the ribbon roping in the OKJHSRA, he never had the same partner two years in a row. He did, however, find quite a bit of success in the event for three consecutive years. “Last year I would’ve gone to nationals in all of my events – ribbons, goats, and tie-down roping – but they canceled it,” said the 14-year-old from Carnegie, Oklahoma. Chizm made up for lost time from last year by qualifying yet again in all three of his events. Thanks to the fast feet of his partner, Kennedee Biggerstaff, Chizm walked away from state finals as both the champion ribbon roper and goat tier. He took reserve in the calf roping.
“It was fun to be up there [at nationals] for a week and meet all kinds of new people. Of course, I wanted to win nationals, but I also just had to take things one step at a time and see how everything went.” In round one, Chizm’s goat got up and he blew his spoke on his tie-down run, but he shook all that off to clock a long 8 in the ribbons. He followed that up with another 8-second run in round two for ribbons and came back to the short round as the second high call back. “I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about our ribbon run, because I just got done with my tie-down calf before we were up. I roped the calf really fast and Kennedee did a good job getting the ribbon on her first try and we were a 6.7. We beat the reserve champion by about two seconds in the aggregate.”
Clearly Chizm exited his junior high rodeo career on a high note, and he’s looking forward to replicating that in the OHSRA. This freshman will be downsizing his event roster as he shifts his focus exclusively to calf roping. “I’m going to miss doing three events like I did in junior high. It might be kind of boring to go to a rodeo and only have one event to worry about.” Chizm isn’t sure that he will only rope calves for his entire high school career. He could see himself venturing into team roping at some point also. As long as it involves a rope, Chizm is likely interested in it.
Of course, Chizm won’t have a lot of time to miss competing in his other rodeo events because he’ll be occupied with both baseball and football practice. “Rodeo obviously comes first, but I still don’t get home from school and practice until about 5. And our arena doesn’t have lights so roping practice can be limited sometimes.” Luckily, Chizm has plenty of friends in the area with indoor arenas that he can use to stay sharp through the darker winter months. Even though Chizm will only get to practice 2 to 3 times a week, he’s going to have make them each count. “I’m going to use my younger horse – Copper – at the start of the season and see how it goes. If all else fails, I’ll use my 12-year-old mare who I took to nationals.” In true cowboy fashion, Chizm calls this horse simply Dun Mare.
Finding quite a bit of success outside of junior high rodeo, Chizm’s been competing in Vegas at the Junior World Finals since 2019. Now that he’s moving up into high school, he has a few other big-time events that he’s looking forward to entering. One of those is the IFYR in Shawnee as well as the Best of the Best in Gallup, New Mexico. “I finally hit a growth spurt last spring. As I’ve gotten bigger and more stout, I’ve been able to flank a lot better. I’ve been able to win quite a bit more because I no longer have to nose the calves down.” With a lot to look forward to in the coming year, Chizm is just thankful for another year of rodeo.