story by Riata Cummings Tad Williams is a 14-year-old rodeo athlete in the Utah Junior High School Rodeo Association. He competes in the chute dogging, […]
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Meet the Member Tag Kelly
story by Riata Cummings
Hailing from Midway, Utah, Tag Kelly is the son of Jason and Misty Kelly. He is the middle child, sandwiched between McKardy, the National High School Rodeo Queen, and Cutter, the sports fanatic and athlete. Tag attends Rocky Mountain Middle School as an eighth grader, and his favorite classes are agricultural science and physical education. Tag enjoys mechanic work, hunting, being outdoors and spending time with his family. Eventually, Tag would like to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before becoming a big machinery service technician and mechanic.
Tag grew up around rodeo with several rodeo announcers, a rodeo clown and a few rodeo queens in the family. When his sister began competing in high school queen contests, Tag decided to begin competing in the junior high light rifle shootings held at high school rodeos. “I loved shooting and I loved being part of the rodeos. We started helping out, and then we started trying chute dogging.” Now Tag is primarily a chute dogger and hopes to compete in steer wrestling in high school. After only a short time competing in the event, Tag placed 3rd at their most recent rodeo and is currently sitting 5th in the state. “I am working towards faster times and shooting for nationals.”
Starting chute dogging was a challenging and rewarding experience for Tag. “My Uncle Van actually had the idea to try it. When it was time for our 1st practice I was scared and didn’t really want to do it. But everyone encouraged me, so many people helped me and now I love it so much.” Tag researched chute dogging to learn technique, and he was helped by the Anderson and Williams families as well as his uncle in learning the fundamentals. Now he practices throwing steers every Tuesday, as well as “constantly thinking about it and practicing” in his mind. “You think about your stance; you think about throwing steers and you go through the motions every chance you get. It’s all about building muscle memory.”
One of Tag’s favorite parts of rodeo is “the kids you meet.” Tag has developed close friendships with his practice partners and fellow chute doggers. One such kid is Tad Williams. “Tad is just this little guy, maybe 90 pounds, but he is always aggressive and tough. He goes out there and throws big steers without hesitation. Right now, he is sitting second. I really look up to him because he is a great kid and is always positive.”
Tag lives by the saying, “Anytime spent doing what you love is not wasted time.” This quote reminds him that “you have to live your life looking for the good. Even in a tough situation you can find the best.” One of Tag’s greatest strengths is his ability to make friends with anyone. “Even when there are kids who seem quiet, I can usually get them to talk and make them a friend.” Part of that ability comes from Tag’s inherent kindness. “Kindness is contagious, and when you are kind other people want to be kind, and everyone wants to be around you. If everyone is a little more kind it makes the world a better place, I think.”
Tag would like to thank the Williams family, the Anderson family and his Uncle Van for getting him started in the chute dogging and encouraging him every step of the way. He would also like to thank his family for supporting his rodeo dreams.