story by Lindsay Humphrey Life for 17-year-old Konner Bickerstaff has been consumed by two things: soccer and rodeo. Rodeo came first, but she’s been competing […]
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Meet the Member Tanner Scales
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Being homeschooled through Epic Charter Schools since the sixth grade made the coronavirus quarantine a breeze for Tanner Scales. Hailing from Blanchard, Oklahoma, Tanner followed in the footsteps of his older sister, Kaylee, to find his way to rodeo. “My dad rodeoed a little in high school, but basically it has just been my sister and I who have really competed. We grew up riding horses and always had them here at the house. Rodeo is just what we liked to do so we started doing it when we were younger.”
Thankfully Tanner’s parents–Rick and Shelly–supported him and Kaylee in this endeavor. “They’ve played a major role in my rodeo career. They’ve invested a lot of time and money so that I could do what I always wanted to do: rodeo.” Of course, this 18-year-old hasn’t let his parents foot the entire bill. Almost three years ago, Tanner started working at the Oklahoma City Stockyards. It was quite a time commitment and started taking away from school and practice, so Tanner found himself a different job.
“There is a guy that bulldogs at our arena who knows how to weld. I started working for him and he taught me how to do it. I’ve just kept picking up on things the longer I’ve done it also.” Tanner is becoming quite an accomplished welder and plans to take this skillset with him to Weatherford, Oklahoma, this fall when he starts at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. “I’m still not sure what I want do for a career yet, but I am majoring in ag business.” Not only did Tanner’s sister pave the way to rodeo, she also forged a path to Weatherford. “I knew I didn’t want to go to a big school and my sister is at SWOSU so I’d already been out there and knew I liked it.” One of Tanner’s greatest rodeo accomplishments to date is getting signed on to the team in both team and calf roping.
Although his work and school schedule didn’t slow down at all on account of the quarantine, his time chasing the rodeo trail certainly did. “I sold my good calf horse that I would’ve been rodeoing on this spring. I have a couple young ones that I am getting ready to rope on. Mostly I’ve spent this time practicing and training so I can be competitive in the fall.” Although Tanner dreams of making the CNFR, his main goal for this next rodeo season is to be an asset to his team. Keeping up with a regular practice schedule along with amped up physical fitness should help Tanner accomplish this. However, his mental game will be a key player also. “I just always try to do the best I can on the calf or steer I drew. It’s not always the best circumstances when you don’t draw an animal you can actually win on.”
Even though Tanner thoroughly enjoys rodeo, it’s not something he intends to compete in for the rest of his life. “I like training horses. I would like to get to a point where I can train and sell roping horses. People always need more of those.” Tanner’s cousin–Garrett Marrow–has taught him a lot about what it takes to train a high-quality rope horse. “He probably taught me the most about patience: how to take my time and not push them too hard.” Although Tanner hasn’t felt like he’s missed out on much this spring, he has been reminiscing about his time spent with family and good friends while competing in the OHSRA. If there is one thing the class of 2020 whole heartedly understands it’s that you’ll never know when your last time is your very last so enjoy the ride while you can.