story by Ruth Nicolaus Jozee Sheffield’s favorite things are horses and cattle. For the horses, it’s Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo. For the cattle, it’s […]
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Meet the Member Cooper Fay
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Cooper Fay would rather work than go to school, and for about eight weeks, he did just that.
While quarantined from school due to COVID-19, the Nebraska Junior High Rodeo Association member worked around the ranch near Cody, Neb., with his dad and brother.
In fact, if he is asked what he does for fun, he responds with, “I work.”
As an eighth grade student at Cody-Kilgore School, homework during quarantine was not mandatory, due to the lack of reliable internet among students in the school district. There were no online classes or meetings; students had packets they could work through, if they chose. Cooper’s mom, Kristin, made him do the work. He didn’t begrudge his mom that at all. “She wants us to be smart, to get better,” he said.
The fourteen-year-old cowboy competes in the tie-down roping, the chute dogging, the team roping (as a header for Roper Wetzel) and the ribbon roping (as the roper for Anna Clark.)
His tie-down horse is a sorrel gelding named Earl, who is “super athletic.” His head horse is a bay mare named Bonnie who is “pretty fun to rope off. She’s just pretty calm and relaxed until we start. She likes to do her job,” he said.
During his spare time this spring, Cooper has helped pull calves, taking the night shift with his dad. He’s also helped pair out and at brandings, has roped and wrestled calves. He rides outside colts, and the money he earns goes into the bank for college. He’ll spend it, “if my mom doesn’t take it before I get ahold of it,” he quipped. His one weakness is cowboy hats. He has eight or nine of them, with the nicest one being a brown felt Resistol.
His favorite food his mom makes is fried ice cream. His favorite vegetable is carrots, his favorite fruit is pomegranates, and his beverage of choice is Dr. Pepper. And his favorite place to be? On top of a horse in a pasture, of course!
Cooper made a concerted effort to get better at breakaway between his sixth and seventh grade years. “I practiced harder,” he said. “I wanted to be better, and if I want to rodeo (in his future career), I wanted to work towards that.” He and his brother, Hesston spent hours roping the sled calf dummy and working on groundwork.
The hard work paid off. He was the 2018-2019 Nebraska Junior High Breakaway Champion and finished in the top thirty-five in the nation at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo.
After college, he’d like to work on a ranch in Texas and compete in both pro rodeos and ranch rodeos.
Kristin appreciates her boy. “He’s got a fun personality,” she said. “He works hard for his dad and his dad’s boss, around the ranch, and they appreciate it.”
He is the son of Steve and Kristin Fay.