Meet the Member: Grayce Baxter
Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
story by Riata Cummings
Hailing from Heber City, Utah, Hagen Cottam is a 17-year-old rodeo athlete and the son of Shaune and Jill Cottam. He has an older brother Kayden, whose wife is Caitlyn, and a younger sister Mylee. As a family they enjoy hunting, shooting, going on Razor rides and being in the great outdoors.
Hagen is a senior at Wasatch High School, and his favorite classes include animal science and agricultural mechanics. He is currently serving as the vice president for the Wasatch chapter of the National FFA Organization. As part of his FFA projects, Hagen has raised, shown and sold a few pigs at the Wasatch County Fair. After high school, Hagen hopes to continue his education and advance his career. For the last few years Hagen has worked for the Wasatch County Parks and Recreation Services, and he enjoys the site supervision and event management aspects of his job.
Hagen and his brother became involved in high school rodeo after a friend encouraged them to branch out from club and recreational shooting. Hagen now competes in the trap shooting and he loves that the event “can be very spontaneous. A person can’t walk into it and know exactly what is going to happen, even if they have done it before. You have to just stand ready at the line and go with whatever happens.” Hagen has placed in several qualifying shoots, and he has scored a perfect 50 before. He hopes to continue shooting well so that he can climb the standings and win more buckles.
He believes that trap shooting is like other rodeo events because it “requires a lot of practice and dedication. You have to prepare and know what you’re doing before you try and jump in.” Although a shooter’s main partner is a firearm and not a horse, the history of shooting is as intertwined with a cowboy’s Western heritage as riding is. Hagen says that one of the main differences between trap shooting and traditional rodeo events is that the events progression is slower, and contestants compete four at a time. “By the time we get to the last few birds it can start to play with your nerves, especially if you are doing well. If you miss bird it can take you out of the placings.”
Competing in the trap shooting has helped Hagen realize that, no matter what interest you are pursuing, “it takes time and practice to get good. Then once you are good you have to keep working; keep going after it or you won’t improve, and you won’t be the best.” He lives by the saying, “You can always get better.” Hagen believes that there is “something to learn at every stage of the game,” and that surrounding yourself with skilled people will help you gain valuable insight and powerful knowledge. He loves that the rodeo atmosphere has given him the chance to build lasting relationships with “the best kind of people.”
One of Hagen’s heroes is his father, Shaune, who works out of town but “always makes time for the important events and moments” in Hagen’s life. Hagen and his father recently spent many hours together, working to restore a truck. “That experience taught me that, even if you are frustrated, you have to keep going and keep learning. Eventually it will all be worth it.” Hagen would like to emulate his father’s work ethic and commitment to the family. One of his greatest strengths thus far is his willingness to work hard with tireless dedication to a task. That drive has helped him become a better, more resilient person. “Things work out in the end if you are willing to work for them. Whether it’s shooting or working or school, you just have to keep doing it until the job is done.”
Hagen would like to thank his family for staying by his side throughout his shooting career. “Thank you for helping me get to every rodeo and for giving up so much of your time to help me succeed.”
Rodeo Newstm (ISSN 1934-5224) is published 12 times a year, semi-monthly May-Nov; once in Dec Jan, Feb., March, and April by Publication Printers, 2001 S. Platte River Drive, Denver, Colo., 80223. Iris Ink, Inc., parent company of Rodeo News is located at 3604 WCR 54G, Laporte, Colo., 80535. Subscriptions are $30 per year. Periodicals postage paid at LaPorte, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rodeo News, PO Box 842, LaPorte, Colo., 80535.
Canada Post (CPC) publication #40798037. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Rodeo News carries advertising and editorials as a service to the readers. However, publication of advertisements and editorials in Rodeo News does not commit Rodeo News to agree with or guarantee any of the merchandise or livestock advertised.