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Meet the Member Coralee Castle
story by Lindsay King
“For a long time I thought showing horses was all I wanted to do until I want to a rodeo camp and decided I wanted to run barrels instead,” said Coralee Castle from Wayne, Oklahoma. As a 7-year-old Coralee was handy with a lead shank attached to a massive halter horse; a product of her dad’s 40 year and counting training career. Luke, her dad, is quite the horseman when it comes to the performance arena but throw rodeo in the mix and things didn’t come quite as naturally at first. “When I started running barrels my mom (Abbi) took the reins since my dad was busy with the business.”
Coralee’s brother, Cash, now 19, tried his hand at bull riding for a bit, but rodeo was never really a family sport for the Castles. Attending a rodeo camp – Camp of Champions – in Sayre, Oklahoma, introduced Coralee to barrel racing. She was mounted on a horse that her dad used to pony the halter horses from. She had no idea this would ultimately lead her to the roping pen. “I didn’t start rodeoing until I was ten. Rodeo was never pushed so I had to decide for myself that I truly wanted to pursue it. When I started breakaway roping, Lynn Thompson was the one who taught me the basics.”
Dustin Oswald also helped progress Coralee’s loop technique. However, it was Tim Tait who’s taken Coralee’s game to the next level. “I had just won my first all-around saddle when I decided I wanted to get really serious about roping and do it all the time instead of barrels.” Just a quick 30-minutes down the road, Coralee ropes with Tim just about every day of the week at his house. In the summer time it’s where she spends all her time. “Tim has always liked helping kids rope, but I don’t know that any of them needed as much help as I did.” If Coralee is nothing else, she’s abundantly modest.
Just last November she won the average, the short round and the American side pot breakaway roping at the Cody Ohl Junior Calf Roping Championship. “I was still a beginner [in the breakaway roping] for about a year and a half. I finally hit my stride and won a couple of jackpots.” Last summer Coralee placed in a round at the IFYR and went on to win two rounds at the NLBRA finals. “Last summer I started doing some things right that gave me an edge and I worked on my mental game a lot.”
Just before roping at Cody Ohls, Coralee started practicing on a new mount, JJ. “The horse I’ve been roping on is kind of neat because he’s the success story that nobody saw coming.” A barrel horse with a knack for tipping barrels, this gelding took three years off to just be a using horse. “My dad and I used him to pony horses and works cows on. When my good horse got hurt I started using him as my practice horse. Sixty days later and I won Cody Ohls on him.” Coralee intends to continue roping in the OHSRA for the year on JJ.
Based on the level of competition in the OHSRA, Coralee needs a sharp partner like JJ. “I have never seen competition as tough as the Oklahoma high school rodeos. I roped a 2.7 and I thought I had made a heck of a run but I ended up in eighth place.” The positive atmosphere of the OHSRA is the perfect place to make friends and cultivate young competitors for both wins and losses. “Rodeo has taught me how to be a humble winner and loser. I learned that lesson when I was really young.” It’s something Coralee will carry with her through life.