story by Siri Stevens The North Park Never Summer Rodeo has been a mainstay in Walden, Colorado, for more than 75 years. “It’s a weeklong […]
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Meet the Member Kacey Kobza
story by Siri Stevens
Kacey Kobza is no stranger to Rodeo News – she was on the cover back with the magazine was newsprint (August 15, 2006). The Colorado native started rodeoing along with her older brother, Clay, in the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association when she was five – back in 1994, getting her start under the leadership of Jay and Tammy Ellerman. She did all the Pee Wee events; flags, goats, poles, and barrels. She competed in National Little Britches as well as the Colorado High School rodeo association. She went to Vernon Junior College on a rodeo scholarship from 2006 to 2008 and continued her education at Eastern New Mexico University. Kacey got her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She worked for Valley Bank and Trust for several years and now she works for TBK Bank in Brighton as a project manager. She has continued her rodeo career through it all, competing in CPRA.
“The CPRA is a great organization,” said Kacey. “I was a director for two years and I think everybody should be a director – you learn a lot about how the rodeos are run. I have so much respect for our committees and our board right now. We’ve got a great group of contestants – they care about rodeo and people.”
In 2014, she was Rookie of the Year in the WPRA in the roping division. She traveled anywhere she could go rope at when she wasn’t working. But in 2019 her world came to a halt.
“We had hit four rodeos in one weekend,” she remembers. “The next weekend we went to Baggs (Wyo.), I was running late and I felt like I was going to pass out. I missed the best calf on the pen – I laughed about it. On the way home, I scheduled an appointment for Urgent Care. We were going to rope Monday morning and start hitting the amateur rodeos over the fourth of July.” The doctor at Urgent Care took a chest Xray and noticed something funny. “After the CT scan, I headed right to UC Health and that’s when the party started.”
That was July 1, 2019 and Kacey was at UC Health for ten days waiting test results over what was supposed to be a rodeo-filled 4th of July. After the fifth day it was confirmed cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She did her first chemo treatment on July 9 at 10 at night. She finished her last chemo on December 10, completing six cycles of chemo, with two treatments each cycle. “My mom (Cricket) stayed every night at the hospital with me and went to all the treatments but one.”
The chemo worked and after five years she will be completely in remission. “Work was really great, they allowed me to work from home,” she said. “I’d get tired faster, but I just scheduled conference calls spread out.”
She got the clear to ride again. “My doctor told me to be careful because she knew I wouldn’t give up riding. The bummer part is I wanted to go do all the things that didn’t involve going to a rodeo.” Now she is enjoying everything she did before.
During her time fighting cancer, the rodeo world stepped up to help with three different fundraisers for her. Starting with the CJRA, and then one put on by Laura and Ricky Lambert and Chelsea Schaefer, and ending with one held during the CPRA Finals. “The one that the Lamberts put on was held at the JBarJ Ranch in Bennett. They had an area that was closed off and I could watch. That was held right in the middle of my treatments and it was a huge boost for me.” There were more than 200 entries in the barrel race, and about 50 in the calf roping and 150 in the breakaway. Three very special people to Kacey won their respective events, making it even more special. Trevor Theil won his roping, my dad (Kevin) won his roping, and Pecos Tatum won his. She was humbled by all the y support. “It was hard,” admitted Kacey. “It’s hard to realize how many people want to help you and it’s hard to accept it. To see how many people came out and that people took the time to put them together. It’s easier to give help than receive it. I’m beyond grateful for what they did for me.”
Her experience has changed her attitude about life. “I want to be the best person out of the arena and use my rope to spread my message – it’s not all about rodeo – I love to rodeo and rope, but we can spread so much more than that platform. I feel I’ll have the best mental game when I back in the box – I’ve already won and if I can help someone with what I’ve gone through, that would be great.”
“I hope one day I can help people the way I was supported.”