Meet the Member Dillon Mathis
story by Julie Carter Dillon Mathis is a big guy with a big easy smile that sparks with orneriness and kindness, both of which serve […]
story by Julie Carter
His personal hero is Trevor Brazile so there’s not much doubt in what Isaiah Chaves believes he can accomplish: “Whatever I set my mind to.” The 18-year-old Valencia High School, Los Lunas, NM, cowboy had the number of days left in his senior year counted down with plenty of plans for a future in roping to meet even more of his goals.
Coming off a Tie Down Roping win in early April at the Lovington High School Rodeo, Isaiah didn’t have the weekend he’d hoped for in Gallup three weeks later. At press time, he had one more weekend of rodeo on the schedule before the State Finals and was looking to redeem some points to better his position in the year end standings.
Isaiah works both the Tie Down and the Team Roping events. He started team roping as a heeler when he was about 8-9, but soon picked up heading as well. His freshman year in high school he jumped on the Tie Down roping roster. “I wasn’t very good at it at first, but I just kept after it and ended up liking it more than Team Roping. I decided then I wanted to be a calf roper.”
Isaiah said Tie Down Roping appeals to him because he doesn’t have to rely on anyone else to make the run with him. “I like being able to do it on my own. Just me and my horse.” His calf horse is a Palomino mare named Liza Jane (LJ), 18, who came with a history of competing in the Indian rodeos and making a few trips to the Indian National Finals. “We’ve always had our eye on her, but we were never able to afford her until finally a few summers ago we got her. I was pretty excited. She’s very powerful out of the box, and she gets me to that calf quick. She has a lot of heart. She’s about 15 hands, a little on the fatter side, but that’s how I like to keep all my horses.”
A beautiful red roan mare, Diva, is Isaiah’s heading horse as well as back up calf roping horse. To date, he says his biggest wins have been in a benefit roping where he placed in the #9, #10 and won the #8. He tries to enter most of the National Team Roping events in the area.
New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) in Hobbs, NM will be the next stop for Isaiah and his horses. He plans to be in their Equine Industry and Training program as well pick up his welding certification. He will college rodeo with the NMJC team.
“Rodeo has always been my deal,” he said. “Ever since I was a little kid.” So while he likes to play hunt, fish, play baseball and basketball, work side jobs as a welder and build pipe fences, his main focus is always rodeo. He didn’t Junior High Rodeo and was a sophomore in High School before he competed in the NMHSRA. He has competed at many junior rodeos, open rodeos and is a New Mexico Rodeo Association member. So far, his trophy collection includes three saddles and 15 buckles.
Rodeo is a family sport for Isaiah. His father, Antonio Padilla, who learned from his father, taught Isaiah how to rope. Isaiah practices with his younger brother, 6th grader Jayden Padilla, 5-6 days a week, with mom (Misty) and dad filling in as chute help. Isaiah said he thinks the strongest part of his skills are getting down the rope fast and having the strength to be a good flanker.
With definite goals in place and a work ethic to match, Isaiah knows rodeo is his future career with plenty of gold buckle dreams to keep it fueled. “If I could spend a day with Trevor Brazile, we’d talk about his amazing horses and his work ethic and maybe even get to run a few calves and rope a few steers.”
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.