Story by Riata Cummings Grayce Baxter is a rodeo athlete and senior at Lehi High School. She enjoys “all things medical” and is currently taking […]
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Meet the Member Ladd King
story by Siri Stevens
Ladd King, the NHSRA All Around Champion for 2015, spent part of his time at Rock Springs, Wyo., entering other rodeos around the area before coming back to cinch the All Around title. Evanston was among those that the tie down roper and cutter from Kaysville, Utah, entered before the short go. Baseball was his life … until he got a taste of rodeo. The summer before his freshman year he decided to figure out how to rodeo. “I went to the arena one day with my dad and they were all amazed that I wanted to do it,” said the recent high school graduate. “I can determine my own outcome on how hard I work at it. Rodeo is not a team sport – if you do good in rodeo, it’s because of you. Nobody can help you make that run once you nod your head.” Ladd continued to play baseball up until the last two weeks of his senior year. “My coach made me choose, and I wasn’t giving rodeo up with where I was going.”
Ladd comes from a rodeo family. “I rode calves and steers and wanted to be a roughie, and did a couple junior rodeos, but I hated it. My dad thought I was going to be the black sheep and not rodeo,” he said. “But ever since I picked up that rope in eighth grade, I’ve roped every day of my life.” He has one older sister and brother, Taylor and Morgun and a younger sister, Shalee, who also competed in Rock Springs in the cutting. His dad and brother both roped calves. His mom, Jann, barrel races.
Jann and the family couldn’t be more proud. “We knew what his dreams were and he gave it his best shot. We didn’t look at the All Around all week long, and we didn’t know until they announced it. It was an emotional roller coaster for his dad and I that whole week. I don’t know how to explain the feeling when your son does that … it’s incredible.”
Ladd has been to the high school finals every year. “I made the short go my freshman and junior year in the cutting only and finally made it in the calf roping this year.” He remembers last year’s short go in the calf roping at the state finals like it was yesterday. “Last year it was mine, I was sitting good and winning the average in the short go in the calf roping and I missed my first loop. This year I made sure I roped every calf and got them tied down.”
He has also learned how to stay calm, through practicing every day. “Last year I hadn’t been in a whole lot of situations where it was that close, but this year I’ve been to a lot more rodeos where the pressure has been high and I’ve learned how to cope with the nerves. I didn’t have the weight on my back that I’d won it.” Ladd got some experience with his nerves at the Ice Breaker where he was sitting in the same position. He decided right there that he needed to stay calm and tried to make his practice more like a rodeo so that he would treat every run the same. I transferred all the practice to rodeo – go rope and make no mistakes. “It’s not about going all out – it’s about making every run count.”
Ladd is putting his rodeo and school career on hold – he leaves on a mission trip August 26. “Jesus Christ did so much for us, this is how we give back. I’m not going to buy my permit and my card until I get back.” Ladd will leave for Tulsa, Okla. When he returns, he plans to go to college and rodeo.
Between now and then, Ladd is entered up in several Rocky Mountain Pro Rodeo rodeos. “I’ve got five this week, and every week looks like that.” Even if he qualifies, he won’t be able to go since he will be on his mission.