Meet the Member Colby Houlton
story by Lindsay Humphrey In Kiowa, Kansas, just about everything is as deeply rooted in family as it gets. That’s especially true for Colby Houlton […]
story by Lindsay Humphrey
“I like that the people in the KPRA are good, hard-working folks who generally compete as a hobby,” said Scott Vander Hamm from Ingalls, Kansas. “Mostly, it’s full of people who I can send my kids off with and not have to worry about them.” When Scott first got to Kansas, he competed in the KPRA and even made the finals for a few years. When his boys – Jhett, 16, and Logan, 13 – were younger, he laid low but now that they’re older he’s getting back into it. “My neighbor, Tim Gleason, called and asked to rope with me since the boys were going anyway. This has been my first full year back and I sure didn’t feel like I was that competitive.” Even though Scott has a drive to win, watching the boys rope is far more satisfying these days. But none of it works well without his wife and mother of their boys, Melissa. “She’s been at home almost every day with the boys and gets them to all their rodeos. She’s with them when they practice and has been really instrumental in all that we get done as a family.”
Scott spends most of his time order buying feeder cattle in southwestern Kansas. But just like his father before him, Scott raises and sells western performance horses. “My dad and Howard Pitzer in Nebraska were good friends and did a lot of business together. I retained that friendship and have continued doing business with the Pitzer Ranch.” At home, the broodmare band is 15 strong. The Vander Hamm’s stand their own stallion, Call Me Joe, while also bringing in outside genetics to keep their herd diverse. “Logan won junior high nationals on a mare that we bought and have some colts out of. And Jhett won the USTRC Finals heading on a horse that’s a half-brother to our stud. We sold him before the finals to Jhett’s partner that he won with, and they took him after that.” The horses have always been the main draw to rodeo for Scott.
Growing up, he dabbled in horse showing through his local 4-H club and the Quarter Horse circuit but eventually got into team roping after high school football took most of his focus. “I played football for Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, for a couple of years before I transferred to South Dakota State University. I still wanted to compete in something and that’s how I got started int rodeo.” Primarily a team roper, Scott also took up calf roping and steer wrestling while he was a Jackrabbit. “I made the college finals in all three of those events my senior year, but most importantly I made a lot of good friends up there.” Most of what Scott learned about horses and competing came from the Baltezore and Loiseau families in South Dakota.
Both Scott and Melissa have spent significant time helping build the Young Guns youth rodeo association from the ground up in Dodge City, Kansas. “We’re on the board that helped get the Young Guns started and now we have several hundred members. We’re setting up a lot of kids to begin some really successful rodeo careers.” Both Jhett and Logan compete in Young Guns along with a significant number of their peers from all across the state. “I’ve enjoyed watching kids learn and succeed through that deal for the past 8 years. It was set up to be a place where kids could come and compete during the winter.” Scott said five states are currently represented at Young Guns, with a surprising number coming from Colorado and as far away as Texas. “It’s a unique, independent youth association. We have all levels of competitors, from beginners who are learning to compete and then the itty-bitty kids who learn just as much by riding around in the warm-up pen to the kids who are competitive nationally.”
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