story by Siri Stevens photos by Jake Hodnett/Jake Brakes Pics Jake Hodnett started taking rodeo pictures after his dad, Jim Hodnett, asked for help at […]
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Meet the Member Tate Pollmeier
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Fort Scott, Kansas, cowboy Tate Pollmeier lives and breathes bull riding. If he isn’t riding one himself or thinking about his next mount, he’s helping his parents, Mark and Jaime, buck one of their 17 bulls at home. “My dad started riding bulls when he was 18 and moved to Fort Scott for college, which is where he met my mom,” said the 17-year-old. “They bought some rodeo cows and now we have our own bulls. We raise them, so we’re always around it. We buck rider and dummy bulls about twice a week.” With so much exposure to the event, it’s not surprising that this high schooler has taken his game to the next level by way of the KPRA.
“J&J Rodeo Company provides all our stock for high school rodeos, and their owner also does a lot of KPRA events. He talked me into entering some and I ended up really liking them.” Tate bought his KPRA card two years ago and so far, he’s made an appearance at the finals both years. He’s looking to add a third in 2021. In 2020, Tate was the year end reserve champion and took second in the average at the finals. He’s no stranger to the leader board though. He’s now the two-time state champion bull rider in the KHSRA. In July, he went to nationals for the second time in his high school career. In 2020, Tate finished in 13th place.
As Tate prepares for his senior season, he’s looking forward to balancing both high school and KPRA rodeo through the fall again. “Last year, having the KPRA finals in Dodge City was pretty handy because I had a high school rodeo in Garden City that same weekend. I was running back and forth all weekend.” Luckily, Tate has his older brother, 21-year-old Coy, and their buddy Trey Holston to keep him lined out on those busy weeks. “Trey and my brother have been with me through my entire career. It’s really been a family thing for me.” For a while, Tate dabbled in calf roping while also trying his hand at both bareback and saddlebronc steer riding in junior high. He finally decided to join his dad and brother by focusing on bull riding.
“Bull riding is something that I really love, and I seem to have a talent for. I love that I get to travel and see new places because of rodeo. I really don’t like to sit still for long, I like to be on the move.” Of all the places he’s traveled so far, Denver is one of his favorites but so is Lovington, New Mexico. When Tate turns 18 next March, he plans to start riding as a professional with his brother and extending that list of favorite destinations. Until then, Tate has his eyes set on returning to one of his favorite KPRAs in Freedom, Oklahoma. “Last year I got on a bull, 5150 from Medicine River, who I had been dreading all year. I ended up winning the rodeo on him, so that was a meaningful ride for me. All year I had watched a lot of people get on him, but not many actually rode him.”
Everyone knows what works best for them when it comes to achieving success. And for Tate, it’s all about the mindset. “My mental game is probably one of my strongest traits. As long as I have a good head on my shoulders full of positive thoughts, I feel ready for my next ride. I’ve learned that negative thoughts aren’t going to help me so there’s no reason to have them. That’s seemed to always work for me.” This positive mindset will likely carry Tate to more success in the rest of his 2021 season and into the spring as he pursues yet another level of rodeo with his PRCA permit.