story by BreAnne Benson Muldrow, Oklahoma, is home to the talented cowgirl, Hazlee Mckenzie. The 16-year-old junior is a standout member of the Oklahoma High […]
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Meet the Member Hayden Stump
story by Lindsay Humphrey
This is only Hayden Stump’s second season competing in the OHSRA, but he’s adjusted well to stiff competition in both the tie-down and team roping. It was the spring of his freshman season when Hayden’s family made the move from Elsmere, Nebraska, down to Lawton. They made that trip north and south several more times so Hayden could finish out his freshman year with the NHSRA. “It took a lot of time and trust in God to keep up because the competition is so strong down here,” said the 16-year-old. Hayden had confidence on his side going into his sophomore season because he finished his time in Nebraska as the NHSRA Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman to qualify for state finals in tie-down roping.
In a single word, Hayden sums up the OHSRA: friendly. “Everyone is always around and wanting to help out. The competition is great, which I appreciate. And Kipp [Boggs] supplies really good calves, so that makes it fun to go.” Since Hayden first got to Lawton, he’s spent just about every day with Gail Turner, a horse trader and roper. “He taught Hunter Herrin and brought him up to be what he is today. I can only hope Gail can do the same for me; he knows all the tricks in the book.” Gary Ledford and Ryan Jarrett have also changed the face of Hayden’s roping. “Moving south has definitely been helpful for my roping, there are way more opportunities down here for me to get better.”
Even though neither Joe Bob nor Melinda, Hayden’s parents, ever rodeoed, they know horses and cattle from a lifetime spent with both. “My sister [Maddie, now 21] took an interest in rodeo and got into it on her own, which started a path for me. I didn’t have any interest in it until I got older. A lot of what I first knew came from watching her go and compete.” The high school junior is homeschooled which lends itself to Hayden spending time out on the wheat pasture with his dad and their cattle. That’s pretty much how it’s always been for the father and son duo, working cattle on self-made horses.
“A lot of times dad and I are split up out on the pasture, so I trained a few dogs to have some extra legs out there to help. It took a lot of time and patience, but two of them are what I would consider fully trained. The third is still a puppy, but he has the potential to be great.” One of those dogs is missing an eye after a run-in with a critter. It’s a perfect match for Hayden’s main calf horse, Spark Plug, who’s missing his left eye. “I have to talk to him when I come up on his left side, but he’s my A string for sure.” Most of the horses Hayden trains while day working are for his family, but he takes in a few outside mounts for his friends.
The only thing that Hayden might love more than roping is riding and training horses, which goes hand in hand with the event. “At the end of the day, I want to be known as a good person, a good horseman, and a good roper. I want to be able to rope and ride anything, anywhere at any time, so I’ll jump ride and compete whenever I get the chance.” It shouldn’t be surprising that Hayden finds himself daydreaming about roping, even if he’s already on the end of a rope out working. He’s consumed by the sport, and that’s why it’s the place where he’s at his very best. “Nothing can replace practice. I believe the harder I work and the more I practice, the luckier I get. I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to travel and rope as much as I do. This has allowed me to be around some amazing people and great horses.”