Meet the Member Tyler Fish
story by Lindsay Humphrey Both rodeo and life have thrown Tyler Kash Fish some curve balls early in life, but he’s made the best of […]
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Fourteen-year-old Sage McLain first got her kicks in the junior ranch rodeo arena. Growing up on a ranch in Welch, Oklahoma, made it an easy choice to start competing. Both her mom, Tara, and step-dad, Kyle compete in the WRCA on a regular basis. “I always thought it was cool that they did that. When they first asked me if I wanted to give it a try, I was nervous but I decided I wanted to give it a shot and I ended up loving it,” said the Welch Junior High eighth grader.
Sage is now a fifth-generation rancher in her family, they’ve raised cattle from the back of a horse for more than 80 years. “I always help my grandparents, Larry and Cindy Layton, when they need it. I seem to be always working cattle with them. I enjoy being outside and riding my horses.” Both parents come from a ranching and rodeo background, by Kyle’s history is rooted in the roughstock events. When COVID shut down the ranch rodeos last spring, Sage’s parents thought rodeo might be the perfect outlet. “I decided I wanted to learn a new hobby and I chose breakaway roping. My neighbor, Courtney Crites, has helped me a lot. She taught me the fundamentals and made sure I was doing things correctly so I could get better.”
Originally a steer roper, breaking into calf roping has been completely new for Sage. Luckily, Sage just loves roping no matter what ends up in her loop. “I’m really appreciative to my parents for allowing me the opportunity to try breakaway roping and for all their support. My mom has worked the chute for hundreds of practice calves I’ve ran and my stepdad is always there to push my calf out at a rodeo. And my dad, JR McLain, is always there cheering me on. And Courtney for helping me every single day in the beginning. John Barnes and Greg Highsmith have also been really helpful to me.” When Sage first decided she wanted to pursue breakaway roping in the OKJHSRA wholeheartedly, she knew it was time for a new mount. Then she found 16-year-old Jagger. “I bought him from Adam and Lucinda Rose in May 2020. As soon as I got him, we just clicked. He’s my best friend and I make sure he has the best care possible. He’s helped me learn so much.”
Together, Sage and Jagger placed third in their very first OKJHSRA event this last fall. And they finished in the top 15 at Chris Neal’s Rising Stars Calf Roping last November. “I like the excitement and competition of the Rising Stars event. Plus, the calves were really good and all the people there were super nice and helpful.” Even in her first year at a Rising Stars event, Sage felt that her fellow competitors helped significantly improve her skills as a calf roper. She says the same about the OKJHSRA. “The people are all really nice and the organization puts on really good rodeos every time. Ryan Gatewood, an OKJHSRA parent, has helped me in the box every rodeo. The OKJHSRA has allowed me to improve my roping skills while achieving my goals in the last year.”
One of those goals now includes roping in the OHSRA next year as a freshman, but Sage still intends to ranch rodeo also. Those started back up in April and Sage once again found herself competing in all the typical chores done on a ranch: roping, flanking, doctoring, branding, sorting, and everything in between. Sage and her friends have selected a team of four they feel will be competitive in this new ranch rodeo season. The main qualification for the team? Being handy with a rope and horse. Sage has sound advice for someone looking into giving rodeo a try. “Any kid that is thinking about starting any rodeo event, they should just go for it, try it out. It takes a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun and you won’t regret it.”
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