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Meet the Member: Rudy Mendiola
Story by Ruth Nicolaus
Rudy Mendiola knows he’s been blessed with good horses, good friends, good family, and rodeo.
The Colorado Junior High School Rodeo Association member, a resident of Silverthorne, Colorado, appreciates what he has.
He appreciates his horses: Revolver and his friend’s horse, Buttermilk, he loves his friends, who he can turn to for help with schoolwork and for fun times, and he loves his mom, dad and little brother.
As a breakaway roper, team roper (heeling for Mason Neese), and a ribbon roper (roping for Myka Grajeda) he has two horses.
He rides Revolver for the team roping and his friend’s horse Buttermilk for the ribbon roping and sometimes the breakaway.
An eighth grade student at The Peak School in Frisco, school is much better this year, compared to last year, because online learning didn’t work well for Rudy. He learns better in person than through a screen. Math was especially a struggle, but this year is an improvement already. “I took my first test,” he said, “and only got two wrong, which impressed me. I’m doing good in school,” he said, “and I hope to keep it going.”
He has three favorite classes: math, humanities, and Chinese. He’s done well learning the language, and can say basic phrases in Chinese, like “how are you,” and “thank you.”
Rudy knows himself well enough to understand why he is doing better at school this year. “I’m paying more attention and studying more, at school and at home.” He’s careful about where and how he studies at home: in a quiet, clear spot. “If it’s a loud place, I don’t concentrate on what I’m doing and I get distracted. And I want the space to be clear, so I don’t feel as stressed.”
Two years ago, he won the Ted Sizer Award, given on the last day of school to the youth who is a good student and exhibits good character. It’s voted on by students and teachers, and Rudy is very proud to have won it. He thinks he won the award, in part, “because I’m a good friend, I’m funny, and I help others.”
He has lots of friends, and says, “thank God I do.” Friends can help him when he’s stuck with homework, and he has fun with them, too.
In his spare time, he likes to play outside, with his brother or the family’s dogs. If friends come over, he’ll hike, fish or ride horses with them.
The family has four dogs. Sasha, the newest, is a black and white border collie who is a few months old. Grulla is one year old and a Belgian Malinois. Joy is a Yorkie who gets jealous when Rudy pets the other dogs, and Canelo, a brown and white male border collie, is the family’s fourth dog. Canelo means cinnamon in Spanish.
The most fun Rudy’s had on a trip was in the summer before his sixth grade year. He went on a three-day camping trip with his classmates and visited Penitente Canyon, near Monte Vista, Colo. They went biking and hiking, and enjoyed a flashlight campfire (they couldn’t have a real fire due to the fire ban), scared people and played games. On that trip, he encountered a rattlesnake but it slithered away.
When he grows up, he’d like to be a veterinarian. When he was little, he used to play with his stuffed animals, pretending to do surgery on them or cure them.
Rudy competed at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo in Des Moines last summer, where his header caught both steers but he didn’t. “I felt pressure,” he said. “That was my first big rodeo ever. It was a great experience, though.”
His little brother is Emiliano, is 9 years old.
He is the son of Rudy and Ana Mendiola.