story by Michele Toberer Although Tanner Hayes started out team roping and competing in Little Britches rodeos as a child, it wasn’t’ until he gave […]
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Meet the Member Kater Tate
story by Michele Toberer
Winning the 2019 KPRA Timed-Event Champion Rookie of the Year title was a great finish for Vernon College freshman, Kater Tate, of Mclean, Texas. The 18-year-old, first generation rodeo athlete is in his first year of studies for an agriculture business degree, while competing on the college rodeo team in the Southwest region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Kater has competed in team roping, steer wrestling, and calf roping to secure the KPRA title this past season, however calf roping is his main event.
Kater graduated from McLean High School last spring and spent his high school years competing in region 1 of the Texas High School Rodeo association all four years, plus his 8th grade season in the junior high division. He qualified for the national high school rodeo finals in 2018 in steer wrestling and finished in the top 10 in the world before leaving Rock Springs, Wyoming. Kater also qualified for the junior high national finals in Des Moines, Iowa his 8th grade year, and won the first round of ribbon roping with his runner, Riley Johnson, and the pair finished 3rd in the average of the national competition. Kater also won the 2018 Spicer Gripp Memorial Junior Match Roping. Besides his rodeo competition during high school, Kater also played football, and was proud to be a part of the state’s winning high school football team in 2019. Kater was recognized with an All-State award for his position as center, and an All-Region award for his position as nose guard. “Although I loved playing football, rodeo has always been my thing, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in college and professional rodeo once high school was over.”
Growing up in a remote ranching community, 30 miles from 3 different towns with his parents, Stan and Lavon Tate, and older sister, Justana Tate, spending time on the family’s cow/calf operation gave Kater plenty of time to ride horses and work with cattle. But using those skills for a purpose on the ranch was not all that was on Kater’s mind. “I always wanted to rodeo, and once I found a passion for roping, it’s all that I wanted to do. Lucky for me, 23 miles down our dirt road led to Charlie Russell’s place, and the summer before my 8th grade year, I would load up a horse and haul a trailer straight down that dirt road to Charlie’s and he would train me in roping calves. Charlie is a guy that won the San Angelo Roping Fiesta, won the Spicer Gripp, and is a really good calf roper. He should have been a world champion if you ask me. Charlie competed during the 90’s into early 2000, and I feel so lucky that I had someone like him, at his level, that was willing to help me get started on roping.”
The grey calf horse, Smokey, that Kater won his KPRA title on this year, is a 7-year-old mare that he bought as a yearling when he was in junior high. “It’s kind of a blessing that she was the first horse I ever broke and trained myself. I bought her for $150 and started working with her; by my sophomore year of high school I broke her as a ranch horse, and by my senior year I felt she was ready to go roping calves. The KPRA rodeos were really her first rodeos she competed at and I was really happy with how she did.” Training horses is still one of the hobbies Kater enjoys, as well as playing guitar.
Kater plans to use an ag business degree to work in his family business, running cattle and also helping with his dad’s meat brokering business, Shamrock Meats. “That is all along the lines of what I’ll end up doing the rest of my life.” But first, he will keep running the rodeo trail, and see what mark he can make on the history books of the professional rodeo arena.