story by Lindsay Humphrey Barb Larsen met her husband, Pat, 52 years ago. They’ve been married for 50 of those years and rodeo’s been a […]
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Meet the Member Curt Johnston
story by Lindsay King
Coming off a world title high in the breakaway in 2018, Curt Johnston is truly loving every minute of his time competing in the NSPRA. “I just love to rope, so that is what we do. We travel to about 18 rodeos every year, spread all across the west,” said the Eaton, Colorado, roper (calf, breakaway, team and ribbons). As a kid, Curt learned how to rope more out of fun than for sport. His dad had horses and they team roped, but they didn’t compete much outside of their local jackpot or two. “I was always interested in rodeo, but never did rodeo in college or as a professional. My son (Chase) got interested in roping as a kid, so I hauled him all over Colorado.” From 2007 through 2011, Curt coached the Colorado State University rodeo team while Chase was a member of the team.
Until Curt started in the senior pros (2011), he had not roped calves for more than 35 years. He has not missed a day of it since then. “I have enjoyed the social aspect of rodeo. I have met a lot of good people.” Curt jokes that everyone is just “trying to stay young at their age” in the NSPRA. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that Curt got back into the groove of things. He not only won the men’s breakaway at the 2018 NSPRA finals, but he was also the champion heeler and placed third in the all-around race and ribbon roping. “My wife (Rose) was my ribbon roping partner until she tore her ACL last year. A calf mucked her at our home rodeo (Greeley) and that was pretty much the end of her rodeo career.”
Curt has served on the committee for the Greeley NSPRA rodeo for the last five years. He is also the ribbon roping director for the association. “The NSPRA is the perfect venue for older folks to still compete and enjoy the western way of life in a competitive nature. The thing I really enjoy about it is that we aren’t just sitting around all day at a team roping.” Most rodeos are followed by a pot luck or just fellowship among friends new and old. “It is a good organization and we are looking for ways to get the younger folks involved.” Traveling to and practicing for rodeos is the perfect mental break for Curt from the family business.
“I used to work for a large ag lender as an appraiser and I went out on my own 14 years ago to establish Pro Ag Appraisal. Chase graduated from college and came into the business about 12 years ago.” Covering both Colorado and Wyoming, Curt and Chase appraise anything and everything that has to do with agriculture. “It is good to have a family business. My wife is the office manager, so everyone is in one building and we all still get along.” His daughter (Kara) is also a horse enthusiast growing up but never caught the rodeo bug. Curt and Rose are the proud grandparents of Chase’s twin boys Qwade and Carter.
“It seems like I have had a horse since I was five years old and now I have four of them.” The 23-year-old gelding Curt calls Leroy was on the professional circuit with Chase for several years. “They won the circuit finals and even went on to compete at the RNCFR. Once he was done with my horse I figured I should learn how to calf rope.” Leroy doesn’t get that many practice runs anymore, he mostly just gets hauled to the rodeos nowadays. “Rodeos are our social life in the summer time. We have a lot of friends from all over now. Good times, good people.”