story by Riata Cummings Heath Hammerstrom just finished his eighth grade year at Dugway High School where his favorite classes were physical education and history. […]
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Meet the Member Gavin Rhoades
story by Riata Cummings
Hailing from the small community of Hannah, Utah, Shane and Eliza Rhoades are proud of their hardworking and talented son, Gavin Rhoades. Gavin is an eighth grader at Tabiona High School, where he enjoys his science, math and shop classes. He has two sisters, Madie and Isley, and the family enjoys working on the ranch with their cows and sheep when they aren’t traveling to a rodeo. Gavin enjoys working as a farm hand, and he changes sprinkler lines for several farmers in the area. “I like being outside and learning from the farmers while I can so that one day, when I own my own ranch, I will know how to do things.”
Gavin’s uncle and father competed in rodeo as young men, and Gavin has been competing his “whole life.” Through the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association, Gavin competes in the bull riding, chute dogging and bareback steer riding. Last year, Gavin finished the season as the fourth-place bareback rider and the fourth-place all-around cowboy. This season, he was in the top four for each of his events before an injury took him out of competition.
Gavin was also competing in the Basin Junior Rodeo Association, and was starting to get on bareback horses, graduating from steers. When he matched up with a hard bucking animal, he came down hard on the horse and broke three vertebrae with compression fractures. Now he is in the healing process, resting his back and “not getting on too many broncs for a while.” He is currently in physical therapy and is dedicated to taking care of his body.
Despite the injury, Gavin intends to compete in high school rodeo next year in the steer wrestling and team roping. His favorite event is still the bareback riding, and he loves that “you have to be strong and fast to win.” He also enjoys the bull riding, but at 6’ 2”, Gavin feels he is “too tall” for too much bull riding.
One of Gavin’s heroes is his father, whom he looks up to for “being a hard worker and good to his family.” Eventually, Gavin would like to emulate his father’s work ethic and kindness by “being good to animals and family, and by never giving up.”
Gavin would advise rodeo athletes to “have fun, work for what you want, and get back on if you get bucked off.” He believes in finding the joy in life and in rodeo, no matter what happens. “Even if getting bucked off means you can’t do what you really love for a while, find something like it that makes you happy, and then go after it with everything you’ve got.”
Gavin would like to thank his father and uncle for getting him started down the rodeo road, and his parents for supporting his rodeo dreams. He would also like to thank his grandparents for their support and sponsorship of his rodeo career. Gavin is grateful for the opportunity to compete in the great sport of rodeo, and for the people who have made it possible.