story by Lindsay Humphrey “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowboy and now that I’m old enough that’s exactly what […]
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Meet the Member Rush Hodges
story by Lindsay King
“I came into state fourth in the tie-down roping and I think the first round I was the most nervous I had ever been. I knew I was right there and the top eight guys going into state were within five points of each other so one roping could change everything,” said Rush Hodges from Coweta, Oklahoma. “I just knew I needed to catch all three and get all the average points. To do that I just needed to be clean at the barrier.” The 18-year-old started out mutton busting with a friend until he decided he did not like rough stock events, he picked up a rope and never looked back. “I am the first one to rope in my family. It is just one those deals that just happened and I fell in love with it.” His twin sister Claire used to rodeo also but picked up a talent for volleyball and is headed to Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Riding out a rodeo scholarship to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Rush plans to pursue a degree in pre-engineering. “I have always been obsessed with building things. I have grown up welding, building barns, that sort of thing. I think mechanical engineering would be a more in-depth version of that.” After two years in Miami, Oklahoma, Rush will transfer to Oklahoma State University to finish his engineering degree. “An engineering degree is not something to take lightly, you have to put a lot of time into it to be successful. I might have to take a break for a few years from rodeo. It is something that will stay in my heart forever because I love it.”
Looking back to the day Rush got his first calf horse, Taz, was easily the best day of his life. “I was about 8 years old and I breakaway roped on him. We won a bunch of stuff at junior rodeos together.” Rush thanks his parents, Chad and Cindy, for propelling his rodeo career forward. “They keep me motivated if I get lazy, they push me to keep my horses in shape and to keep practicing. If I get down on myself, they bring me back up. They are good motivators, they keep me sharp and focused.” His dad grew up in the racing world, from motorcycles to drag racing. “Other than horses and rodeo, my next favorite thing would be fast cars. My dad and I go to the sprint car races all the time, which is basically NASCAR on dirt. I love fast cars and big trucks, all that.”
A trip to nationals this year prevented Rush from competing at his favorite rodeo, Cavalcade. The largest amateur rodeo in the world draws a massive crowd, making it a fun rodeo to watch and compete at. “The score is really long; the calves are running strong and fast. It is simply a foot race to catch them.” The future stars calf roping champion also took third at state, sending him on an inaugural trip to nationals. “I thought I would be nervous because I was expecting it to be the toughest rodeo of my life. I feel like I could have done better, but overall I am happy with how it came out.” The calf roper captured seventh place at nationals in the average sending him into his freshman year on a high note.
“I will miss the competition of the OHSRA the most, it was my favorite part. I believe it is one of the most competitive states around. That was confirmed when I was at nationals.” Luckily for Rush, the competitive nature of rodeo will be amped up to a new level in his college rodeo career. “I love the adrenaline of watching somebody else rope and tie in eight seconds and needing to do that and better. I just love the competition of rodeo.”