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Meet the Member Rhett Robbins
story by Michele Toberer
Rhett Robbins is proud to be a fourth-generation rodeo cowboy, following in a line of rodeo athletes stemming from his great-grandfather, Tommy Likes, who competed as a bareback rider and bull rider. Rhett’s grandpa, John Smith also rode bulls, but mainly competed as a bareback rider, and has been happy to help Rhett with the skills he needs to carry on as another generation of rodeo driven cowboys. As an all-around cowboy, Rhett competes in calf roping, team roping, and bull riding for the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. He has been a member of the association since he was in 7th grade. Rhett’s mom, Karody Robbins, is a medical sales representative now, but spent many years competing as a barrel racer. Although his dad, Brett Robbins, an insurance salesman, didn’t rodeo, he definitely supports the family’s involvement in it. Rhett’s older sister, Prairie, 16, also competes in the KHSRA as a barrel racer, pole bender, and breakaway roper, and heads for Rhett in the team roping.
“My favorite event is bull riding. When I first went to rodeos, bull riding seemed like the coolest event, there was just something about it that I liked. I started riding calves, then steers, and now I am riding bulls this year.” Although Rhett found success on calves, steers and mini bulls, moving up to high school level bulls has been a challenge for him. “It’s been a little frustrating, but not too bad, and I know I’ll figure it out.”
Rhett is a freshman at Tescott High School, where he is also an all-around student athlete, playing football, basketball, and track for the Tescott Trojans. He is also involved in the Future Farmers of America program and is enjoying the animal and soil judging projects he’s been a part of so far. Rodeo, which he’s been a competitor in since he was three years old, is what takes most of his focus. Last season in the KJHSRA, Rhett was the 2019 Champion All-Around Cowboy after excelling in bull riding, bareback and saddlebronc steers, team roping, calf roping, and ribbon roping. It was his fifth all-around title, having earned the coveted title in the Heartland Youth Rodeo Association four years in a row. He has since went on to earn a sixth all-around saddle in the Central Kansas Youth Rodeo Association.
Rhett is grateful to his grandpa for all of the help he gives him in rodeo and is thankful for a couple special horses that help him do his job. Ashes is a 7-year-old grulla mare that Rhett uses for calf roping and heeling. And his main heel horse is a little 18-year-old white horse named Bart that he’s been riding the past three years. “It’s fun roping with my sister this year. Sometimes it’s frustrating too, but I like that we can practice together here at home as much as we need to.”
When he can, Rhett likes to hunt, and has an interest in mechanics so he likes to spend time in the shop working on trucks. He hopes to work as a welder on pipelines in the future. For now, he will enjoy his high school years with the KHSRA. “I like the people in the KHSRA, everyone is so nice, and I like that I get to see friends, and my cousin Kacen who competes in the association also. Last year Kacen was the reserve all-around champion when I won the all-around title.”