story by Hannah Crandall Down an eight-mile dirt road near Long Valley, South Dakota, 30 miles from Kadoka, Denton Good lives on his family’s ranch. […]
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Meet the Member Dillon Sackett
story by Lily Weinacht
Competing on home-raised horses is a highlight of rodeo for Dillon Sackett. One of those horses, Bear, carried the 17-year-old from Alcester, South Dakota, to his first state title and championship saddle in the SDHSRA this summer. “I came into state in first place for points, and I felt confident,” says Dillon. He didn’t even plan to use Bear, but when his main calf horse—Bear’s dam—pulled a tendon last summer, Dillon started roping on Bear, and a trip to a Paul Tierney clinic helped them click. “I won the first round, seventh in the second round, and I won the short round. I didn’t make the short go at Nationals, but for my first year, I ended 34th out of 170 or so, so I was pretty happy with that. I did the Smarty team roping clinic, and went to Cinch Town and hung out with friends there.”
The second generation in his family to rodeo, Dillon started entering rodeos in seventh grade, and competes in the SDHSRA in tie-down roping and team roping as a heeler. He’s also competed in cutting in the past. “It depends on the day, but usually calf roping is a little more of a favorite. I like being on a home-trained horse I’ve done all the work on myself, and the part I like the most is the get-off with the slack.” Troy Pruitt has played a large role in Dillon’s tie-down roping career, along with Paul Tierney. “A western store we use around here mentioned to us there was going to be a calf roping clinic with Troy Pruitt, and I’d watched some videos of him beforehand. I’ve also gone to quite a few of Paul Tierney’s calf roping schools,” says Dillon. “My mom’s parents, Jay and Pat Knevel, got me my first horse to rodeo on, and I want to thank my parents, John and Deb Sackett, for hauling me to all these rodeos.”
An average day starts at 5:30 am for Dillon, who started homeschooling and does his school and chores in the morning so he can work during the day. “I work for Myron Klarenbeek, who has hogs and does crop farming. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of welding, taking care of pigs, and being on the tractor. I get home at 8:30 and then work a few horses,” says Dillon, who is training a 3-year-old, 2-year-old, and a yearling. A 6-year-old calf horse he trained and sold to a family in North Dakota, has competed twice at the National Little Britches Finals and twice at the National Junior High Finals. “Another thing that keeps me going is that I make good horses,” explains Dillon, who team ropes on another horse his family raised, Lily. The Sacketts also train outside horses and offer boarding and lessons.
Dillon’s sister, Raelyn, is a second-grader and loves to ride, while their brother Colton, an eight-grader, enjoys woodworking. They travel to rodeos together, and recently, all of them started homeschooling. “I’d like to go to the NRS Events Center for a Trey Johnson. There’s not a lot of time for that during the regular school year, so hopefully I can do that this year,” says Dillon. “I’d like to make Nationals again next year, and maybe sell a few more good horses. I’d like to sell my 3-year-old at the stock show next year in Rapid City—he’s coming along pretty nice. I’m possibly going to college rodeo, otherwise, I’ll do the South Dakota rodeos after high school.”