Meet the Rodeo Company Rockin’ K Rodeo
story by Siri Stevens Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for […]
story by Michele Toberer
A pivotal moment in Luke McCoag’s 11-year-old life was when he watched his older brother, Neil Drew McCoag, climb atop a bull for the first time. As he looked on, Luke instantly knew what he wanted for his life and it required his own set of chaps and a bull rope. He started riding steers in a regional rodeo association, with the ultimate goal of riding bulls in his future. Eighteen years later, after tenaciously pursuing the sport, Luke’s life is still centered around bull riding and as an IPRA member since 2006, he is set to qualify for his eighth International Finals Rodeo this coming January in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “I’ve had to substitute a lot of things in between, but basically riding bulls is all I’ve done, it’s been my main goal forever.”
Luke and his three older siblings showed jumping horses as they grew up in Ontario, Canada with their parents, Neil and Mary Ellen McCoag; and spent many hours at the racetrack where Neal worked training Standardbreds for harness racing, and as a race secretary and judge for the racing commission. His parents were not enthused with the idea of their youngest child becoming a bull rider; especially after their oldest son had a few injuries during his short bull riding career. Luke, however, could not imagine anything else, and before his junior year of high school, he chose to leave school and home to make his mark on the rodeo world.
Dean Dobinson, a multiple IFR qualifier in saddlebronc riding and steer wrestling, was known to help many fledgling rodeo cowboys and gave Luke a job and a place to live on his family’s dairy farm. Luke spent close to two years working many odd jobs to make entry money and was helped by many cowboys along the way. “Kenny Doner helped me a bunch, and Billy Linders was in my corner from day one. Billy even set me up with my girlfriend, Kansas Pickrell when I was 18.” Kansas’ family took Luke in, and the appeal of high school rodeo prompted him to return to finish his high school education after taking two years off. He competed in the Ontario High School Rodeo Association his junior and senior year, qualifying for the NHSFR both years, and winning the Ontario High School Champion Bull Rider title in 2008.
After high school, and with his parents now accepting of their son’s bull riding passion, Luke began crossing into the states and riding bulls at many IPRA rodeos. Even despite a couple major injuries, there has not been anything to cause his determination and drive for riding bulls to decrease. “In 2009, I broke the entire left side of my face when a bull jerked me over the front of him and basically punched my face with his head; but, I was riding again three months later.” A broken leg after being stepped on by a bull in 2012 definitely slowed Luke down a bit, and Kansas got him involved in a cross-fit training gym for physical rehabilitation. But, riding bulls was not off his schedule for long, and Kansas recently opened her own cross-fit gym after their experience. “The thing about us, is we’re all or nothing kind of people, if we do something, we’re going to do it 100%, and do the best we can at it.” Besides bull riding action, Luke spends quite a bit of time between rodeos as a stunt double in many movies and television shows.
Luke recently started team roping, because he knows that one day when he ages out of bull riding, he won’t be ready to give up the thrill of rodeo. “The IPRA is like home to me, it’s an association full of like-minded people that all love rodeo and make it a huge part of their life. What I love about rodeo is that there is always another rodeo to win. From the day I started until now, it just keeps getting better; the bulls have gotten better, and the guys have gotten better. You never plateau, you either step up and thrive or you get left behind.”
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