story by Ruth Nicolaus Out of about 1,200 students at Loveland (Colo.) High School, Colton Clymer is the only one he knows that competes in […]
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Meet the Member Mark Halliday
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Mark Halliday might not love school, but he’s sure not enjoying going to school virtually.
The Keenesburg, Colo. cowboy, a member of the Colorado High School Rodeo Association, is doing all of his classwork through Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not ideal, he says. “There are a lot of things I need to do around the place, and it’s so hard to focus when you’re not in person. There are so many distractions.” A freshman at Brighton High School, he’s loved meeting new people and going to a bigger school than what middle school was. But as for this year, “it’s kind of a sucky freshman year.”
The fifteen-year-old competes in the team roping and tie-down roping, with team roping his forte. “I’m smaller,” he said, “so flanking those calves can be tough sometimes. And I’ve been working on the team roping longer than I have tie-down roping.” As a header, he partners with Coy Shoemaker.
His head horse is a stout sorrel named Guapo, who “has done some great things for me,” Mark said. He has won two buckles on Guapo. The horse is “energetic, always wanting to go.” He’s also very well-broke. “He can do a lot of things with his body that make him a good head horse. He’s really aware of where he’s at, and he knows when to get down to business. When he’s backed up in the box, whether it’s the practice pen, a rodeo or a jackpot, he’s all business.”
His tie-down horse, Trike, started as Mark’s dad’s and the family horse. Three years ago, Mark started breakaway roping on him. He did the tie-down training on Trike, who loves to be around other horses and doesn’t like to be alone.
In school, he loves woodworking classes, where, before the pandemic hit, he made a cedar wood bench and a cutting board. He is not a big fan of Spanish class, in part because the teacher speaks Spanish nearly all the time, even when she’s not instructing.
The best meal his mom and dad make is grilled steak, with dad on the grill and mom making mashed potatoes on the side, with a pat of butter. His favorite dessert is his mom’s apple pie (“Mom can make a pretty good apple pie,” he boasts,) and his favorite beverage is Dr. Pepper. He likes apples and asparagus, too.
Mark loves to hunt for coyotes and ducks and play card games with his family, especially Hearts, which he usually wins.
When he grows up, he’d like to be a rodeo cowboy but realizes he’ll probably need a job on the side. He’s good at selling things; he’s had experience selling raffle tickets at the rodeo banquets, so being a salesman might be on the short list. He also likes to weld and would like to learn how to shoe horses.
As a sixth grade student, Mark competed at state junior high finals in the saddle bronc steer riding and the breakaway. In seventh grade, he qualified in the ribbon roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc and bareback steer riding, and the chute dogging and finished second in the all-around. Last year, his eighth grade year, he finished in the top ten in all of his events.
He has two older sisters, Hailey and Chloe, and two younger sisters who are twins: Millie and Charlie, age eleven.
He is the son of Matt and Amber Halliday.