Meet the Member
story by Lindsay Humphrey Basically every event that Gracie Lewis can enter in the OKJHSRA is what she’s entered the entire season. Aside from the […]
story by Lindsay King
Once a cowboy, always a cowboy. This is true for Chizm Kuykendall, who aspires to follow in his parent’s footsteps and become an Oklahoma State University cowboy. The 12-year-old just wants to study agriculture, but more importantly he just wants to rodeo. “My dad ranches and farms, so we ride horses and rope sick calves all the time. It’s just what we do,” said the sixth grader. As Chizm recounts his first rodeo, he laughs about how he started out by running barrels. He was simultaneously learning how to rope calves.
He competes in breakaway, ribbon and tie-down roping as well as goats. “Tie down is my favorite. I like it best because is it the event I can make it to the NFR in. It gets my adrenaline running. I love running down the line to flank and tie the calf.” His first trip to Vegas was at 2017 the Junior World Finals where Chizm competed in the breakaway roping. “The whole atmosphere was like nothing I had ever seen before. I was really proud of myself for making it because I just felt like my dream of making the NFR one day were actually possible now.” Though he was pretty nervous and roped “just ok,” Chizm took in all the sights and sounds of the second-floor arena. “Everything was so loud and big, but it was just neat to be competing in Vegas with all the top guys in the world.”
Winning a round and making the short go at the Roy Cooper Jr. Calf Roping Championship was Chizm’s ticket to the Jr. NFR. He has also won the Future Stars breakaway roping and placed in the Joe Beaver Jr. Calf Roping event. Chizm’s voice gets an excited ring to it when he talks about making the short round in both breakaway and tie-down roping at the Cody Ohl Jr. Calf Roping Championships last year. Though Chizm has seen plenty of success, it certainly didn’t come out without some heartbreak. “A couple years ago I was in a slump, I couldn’t catch anything. I just kept practicing until I finally pulled myself out of it, but it lasted almost two full months. I’ve just learned that you truly can never quit, even when it seems like nothing is working.”
Chizm has a habit of holding his breath the entire time he is roping, so he mainly focuses on breathing when he backs into the box. “I just try to get out without breaking the barrier and catch my calf no matter how far he makes it down the pen.” His sights are set on winning rookie of the year in the OKJHSRA in 2019. Chizm has set the lofty goal to get a time in every single event at each of his rodeos. So far, he’s sitting in at least the top five in all three of them. He believes his competition is to thank for this. “I like all the people I have gotten to meet and become friends with. They are all tough competition, which makes me rope better.”
Some of this competitive spirit comes from the practice pen where Chizm and his brother Haze, 8, rope against each other almost daily. The rest of it stems from the sports Chizm plays for Carnegie Public Schools when he isn’t roping – baseball, basketball, football and track. “Football is my favorite because I like to tackle people and I think running with the ball is fun.” A die-hard Oklahoman, Chizm always cheers for the cowboys and the Oklahoma City Thunder. With all these sports, it might seem impossible to juggle. Chizm isn’t worried though, he has a schedule of sorts. “I do all of my sports practices during the school hours and then come right home to practice. We don’t practice every event every day though, that’s just how it works for us.”
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