Meet the Member Emily Finney
story by Lindsay Humphrey Last summer, Emily changed her last name from Vinton to Finney when she married Doug. It was a match made at […]
M-SRA member, Mark Lovitt
– JJJ Photography
Though Mark Lovitt is a long time member of NSRA, he has only been in the Mid-States organization a couple of years. He has already accepted the position of 45 calf roping co-director alongside Jon Wooters. “You have to track stock and coordinate with the stock contractors. It’s also communicating with the committees and cowboys. Hopefully, you can keep everybody happy, that’s the main goal. I’ve done this before for high school rodeo and in the NSRA so I have a good idea of what is needed.”
Mark, 52, enjoys the Mid-States rodeos because of the grass roots atmosphere. “I like going to rodeos in small towns where people walk to the rodeo and it’s a big deal when the rodeo comes to their town. It’s kind of like a Friday night football game and I enjoy that feeling.”
The 45 and over calf roping is his primary event now after competing in the steer roping years ago. “I team rope a little bit in the USTRC or Mid-States sometimes and trip steers in NSRA. I just like to rope. I’ve roped all my life.”
Mark got started in rodeo as a boy going to 4-H rodeos and kid’s rodeos. “I rodeoed in high school. I rode barebacks, calf roped, team roped, and bull dogged. I was on the rodeo team for two years at Chadron State College; I had an athletic scholarship but that was for football and track.” He credits several people that have contributed to his abilities in the arena. “My dad and Rick Gracey taught me about roping calves. My uncles have helped with team roping and Stuart Allen helped with my steer tripping.”
Mark thrives on competition and finds it fits him spot on. “Competition has never been a problem for me. I find that it’s a release for me to go rodeo. I just love jumping in a pickup and driving to a rodeo. You make your living in the rat race and going to a rodeo is an escape from that. That’s what I like about it. I compete against myself and just do the best I can on the calf I have drawn.” He still gets enough practice in to stay sharp and ready. “I can’t practice like I used to but I still rope 20 calves a week.” In training and practice his philosophy is to, “’Do little things right and big things will happen to you.’ I used to coach in high school and I’d tell the kids that and it works for me too.”
He lives half way between Stapleton and Tryon, Nebraska; just 10 miles from where he was born and raised. He and his wife, Shelley have two grown daughters, Taylor and Jordon. “My wife rodeoed in high school and both the girls rodeo. Taylor is married and has two little boys and is a school teacher. Jordy is a school teacher in Paxton. And my wife is a school teacher.”
During the week Mark is ranching full time and that means 24-7. “We have a cow-calf operation. We’re running 250 mother cows on the ranch we bought from my wife’s dad 10 years ago or so. We’re busy checking water and fence, and moving cows. So there is always something that needs to be done.”
Leisure time usually revolves around something with horses. “We go to 10 or 15 ranch rodeos, or something to do with roping.” Goals are to continue to rodeo and rope.
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