story by Ruth Nicolaus Dawson Doggett has a great sense of humor, and he’s a hard worker. So reports his mother, when she talks about […]
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Meet the Member Owen Thorberg
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Owen Thorberg has an air of confidence about him. Not that he’s cocky, because he isn’t, but he isn’t afraid to make friends and meet people.
And for him, rodeo has been the perfect way to make more friends.
The thirteen-year-old cowboy, a resident of Mullen, Neb., and a member of the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association, competes in the chute dogging, breakaway roping, goat tying, ribbon roping (roping for Peyton Paxton), and team roping (heading for Brodey Hund.)
For his events, he rides a twenty-two-year-old buckskin gelding named Captain, who Owen has ridden since age six. Captain is calm in the box and puts Owen in the right spot every time.
As an eighth grade student at Mullen Public School, he loves science and Spanish class, but math is not his favorite. He competes in football, basketball, wrestling and track, is on the honor roll, and is a member of his school’s FFA chapter.
In his spare time, he loves to hunt deer, coyotes, doves, geese, and ducks. His grandpa Tom Shavlik takes him deer hunting every year, and the two love to fish, too, for perch, northerns, blue gill, crappie and walleye at Merritt Dam. And when the hunt is over, his grandma Sheila Shavlik has his favorite foods ready for him: branding potatoes and dinner rolls, which Owen slathers in butter.
As for other favorites, he loves his mom’s chicken fried steak, with mashed potatoes and gravy. He likes to finish his meals with cookie dough ice cream, and wash it all down with milk and iced tea. His favorite candy is Reese’s peanut butter cups, with cucumbers as his favorite vegetable and peaches his favorite fruit. And if he was at a buffet, the first thing Owen would make a beeline for would be the tossed salad, which he would top with cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, croutons, and a mix of ranch dressing and Dorothy Lynch dressing.
In his spare time, he loves to spend time with his mom and dad, Kendra and Aaron, and his younger sister, Emerson. “I have a good family and I like to hang out with them,” he said. Emerson, who is ten, is also a good sister. “She’s good and she’s funny and most of the time she doesn’t listen to me,” he said. Owen admits that he doesn’t always listen to her, either.
The family has a new dog, a yellow Labrador named Duke who Owen will take bird hunting this winter.
Owen’s other grandparents, Martin and Shirley Thorberg, have a soft spot for their grandkids. One time, Owen asked his grandpa Martin for a twenty dollar bill, and Martin pulled out his wallet and gave him one! Owen tries hard not to spend it, because his dad “gets mad if I spend it,” but his weakness is ropes and his spending cash often goes towards rope purchases.
When he grows up, he’d like to be a rancher and a hunting guide.
Their son is kind and so special to them, Kendra said. “He has a heart of gold and would do anything for you. He tries his best at everything he does.”
Owen has friends all over, his mom said. “There’s not a place we go that Owen doesn’t know someone. He knows everybody.” Owen has been the Mullen Broncos football team student manager for the past three years, and “he knows all the refs, and all the refs know him by name,” she said. “He talks to anybody, always says hi, and is super polite.
“He has some very true friends, some very good friends.” This is his second year of competition in junior high rodeo.