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Meet the Member Justin TeKrony
story by Lily Weinacht
“Being with the friends that I make in rodeo and trying to make Vegas someday (motivates me), so you have to keep going and keep getting better as you go along,” says Justin TeKrony of Clear Lake, South Dakota. The 18-year-old’s hard work took him to the national level for the first time this summer, where he competed in two rounds of steer wrestling. “It was a good experience out there and I saw a lot of new things there and met some new kids,” says Justin.
His game plan for his senior year is to return to the NHSFR through strong and consistent runs. Justin also competes in tie-down roping and team roping as a header, but team roping and steer wrestling are his favorite events. “In team roping, the fun part is that I get to do it with my brother Jace—he’s my heeler—and the challenging part is scoring cattle to get a good run. Jace started hazing for me this year, and he just started steer wrestling, so I haze for him every now and then. A lot of my family and hometown friends have really helped us,” Justin adds. “I also go to a clinic every year with Josh Peek—he’s been to the NFR and he’s helped me a lot in steer wrestling. Matt Zancanella is also an NFR qualifier and he helps me with roping and steer wrestling. He helped me find my steer wrestling horse, and he lives a half hour away, so we go there for team roping practice.”
Justin, Jace (15), and their brothers Kaden (14) and Kaleb (11), travel to many of their rodeos together with their parents, Lane and Jess TeKrony. They also compete in 4-H rodeos, were Justin won the team roping with heeler Seth Bach in 2016. “We all practice together. We don’t have an arena at our house, so we go to an arena about a mile from us,” Justin explains. “Most of the time the boys will load the horses and cattle and we meet them there and practice.”
The TeKrony family operates a feedlot and runs a registered Simmental cow/calf operation, and the brothers’ riding time tends to reflect whatever jobs they’re doing. “The first part of April and May we’re breeding cows and we ride every day, and in the summer we practice two to three times a week. Now we ride whenever we can because we have football too, and we’re weaning calves, so we’re riding and checking on them.” Many of Justin’s horses are used on the ranch as well, with the exception of Zanc, who is primarily a steer wrestling horse. Justin and Jace haze off their buckskin gelding Casino, whom Kaleb also rides in the flag racing and goat tying, and the brothers both rope calves on a mare named Mesa.
During summer break, Justin and his family spent every weekend from June until late August at a rodeo, from 4-H to amateur rodeos, and even several pro rodeos. His focus now is his senior year at Deuel High School. “Metal fabrication has been my favorite class. We just started making bale feeders. I’m mostly polishing my skills now and getting more experienced. Especially when you’re trying to farm, you never know when you’re going to need it.” Justin also loves football and plays right guard and defensive tackle on his school’s team. He uses his three study halls to stay on top of homework so he can focus on the ranch when he gets home, while he and his brothers also enjoy hunting together in their spare time.
“I want to make the College National Finals in a few years and from there, see how it goes,” says Justin, who plans to compete in all three of his events in college. “I want to get a good education.”