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Meet the Member – Lane Mitchell
story by Lily Weinacht
Roping is nothing less than second nature for Lane Mitchell. The 21 year old team roper from Bolivar, Tenn., followed in the bootprints of his dad and older brother, and from a young age, he was competing in every junior rodeo his family could find for him. Junior high and high school rodeo came next, and the same year Lane started college rodeoing for University of Tennessee at Martin, he also joined the IPRA. Yet family traditions aside, Lane says, “I’ve always wanted to rodeo just because I love doing it! I enjoy seeing everybody and travelling to the rodeos, and I always want to get better. I have the drive to be the best heeler around.”
Two people who particularly inspire Lane in rodeo are his dad, Gem Mitchell, and his neighbor, Sonny Gould, who is a professional roper and horse trainer. “Since Mr. Sonny lives down the road, I rope with him and my dad a lot,” says Lane. “My dad has always helped me, from learning how to ride a horse to picking out good horses, and giving me the chance to practice every day.”
Lane is finishing his third year with the IPRA, and anticipates a third qualification for the IFR to top off the season. This fall, he is entering his fourth year of college rodeo under coach John Luthi, competing in team roping, as well as tie-down roping and steer wrestling. During his two trips to the CNFR in Casper, Wyo., he has made it to the short go in team roping, which he readily claims as his favorite event. The team aspect – and the challenges that come with it – especially appeals to him. “I bounce around a bit on partners, but I mainly rope with Kelsey Parchman and Jason Tucker,” says Lane, who will graduate next May with a degree in Ag. Business.
The other half of his team is a six-year-old dun gelding named Playboy. “This is my first year rodeoing on him – I got him in February,” says Lane. Playboy has earned his weight in feed, helping Lane place in the top 20 of the IPRA world standings. Beyond a few practice horses, Lane mounts out for steer wrestling, and having recently sold his calf horse, he also mounts out for the tie-down roping.
During the summer and often on weekends, Lane comes home from school to help his parents, Gem and Vickie Mitchell, and his two brothers, Clay and Ross, with the family farm in Bolivar. They raise crops including corn, beans, and wheat. Yet it’s not all work and no play. Lane additionally enjoys roping with his dad and brothers. Clay also went to school at UT Martin on a rodeo scholarship, and Ross is a high school senior, competing in high school and open rodeos in the area. Lane also enjoys hunting in the winter, but he says, “Mostly, if I’m not rodeoing, I’m on the farm planting and helping around the house, plus in the winter we feed cows.”
Following college graduation next spring, Lane plans to pursue rodeo full time. Among the IPRA rodeos, his favorite, second to the finals, is held in North Washington, Penn. “It pays the most, and it’s a big rodeo that lasts all week, and everybody seems to go to it,” explains Lane. “I’ve placed in several rounds of the IFR, but I’d like to win the IPRA world title heeling one year, and be as successful as I can!”