story by Ruth Nicolaus Danna Gann took a leap of faith in 2010, and has never looked back. That’s the year the American Pro Rodeo […]
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Meet the Member Kyle Gardner
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Kyle Gardner is doing his darndest to keep team roping alive and well in the Northeast.
The Stephentown, New York cowboy, a member of the American Pro Rodeo Association, produces team ropings, is a team roper and is the team roping director for the APRA.
Plus, he helps put beef on the plates of New Yorkers.
He and his parents, Neil and Susan Gardner, raise cattle. They process about fifty head a year. Of those fifty head, some are sold straight to the consumer through retail shops, and some are sold at the Gardner’s restaurant, Gardner’s Ice Cream and Coffee Shop. Kyle estimates that between forty to fifty steaks a week are sold, frozen, out of the restaurant.
A graduate of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, he graduated with a civil engineering degree. He worked for an engineering firm for sixteen years, building up his savings so he could build up his farm. He’s always done more than his share on the farm, but two years ago he took over when his dad semi-retired. He recently has partnered with another engineer to offer engineering services.
The Gardners have about 200 head of cattle, pasturing them on grass and bringing in fifteen at a time to finish on grain. There is a big push in the region to buy local and support local farmers, so that helps in marketing their cattle. Their beef is all USDA certified.
The Gardners have 1500 acres of hay ground, an alfalfa/timothy grass mix, which they can get two cuttings of off. Their shorter season won’t allow for three, although along the lowlands, they might get a third cutting.
Kyle became an APRA member 18 years ago, at age nineteen. He’s been the team roping director for the past six years.
He and his wife, Renee produce team ropings in their outdoor arena at Gardner Farms, at which they average up to 300 teams per roping. Renee secretaries and friends and family help out with everything from office work to running gates and garnering sponsorships. This year, they will host eight ropings with a finals in late September, awarding three saddles and top ten awards.
“I try to keep team roping going in the Northeast,” he said. “It’s not as prevalent here as in other places so we do everything we can to keep the lower numbered guys in the jackpots, so they enter rodeos and keep the sport going.”
The Gardners also have a trail riding business that offers horse riding through their 430 acres of open fields and wooded mountain trails, with views of the Berkshire Mountains. After riders are done, they can get a soft-serve ice cream cone and play mini-golf at the Gardner’s Ice Cream Shop.
Kyle is also a PRCA member; his wife, Renee, runs barrels and is an APRA and WPRA member. She is a fulltime director of a meetings and events department for a local medical communications company.
His biggest win was at the Adirondack Stampede in Glens Falls, New York, a few years ago, roping with Justin Burgess. He’s never qualified for an American Finals Rodeo because running the farm consumes most of his time.
He and Renee have a one-year-old daughter, Paisley, who goes with her daddy to do chores and tractor work. Paisley already owns some cows, and when her cows have calves, they’ll be sold and the money will be put in her college fund. Paisley’s cows are easy to find; they all have purple ear tags.
In his spare time, Kyle likes to hunt whitetail deer.