story by Lindsay Humphrey Unlike many of her peers, 13-year-old Sage Putnam didn’t get her start with horses in rodeo. She did, however, always have […]
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Meet the Member Taylor Raupe
story by Lily Weinacht
Taylor Raupe is the 2018 KJHSRA Breakaway Roping Champion, a title she had no idea was within her grasp until her name was announced as the event leader going into the third round. She also won the 2018 year-end breakaway roping title in the KJRA, where she’s won the all-around in 2016 and 2017, and she’s starting out the 2019 rodeo season leading the breakaway roping in the KJHSRA. The 14-year-old from Douglass, Kansas, attributes her success to many hours of practice, and the help of her parents, Dustin and Jaime Raupe. Dustin has rodeoed his whole life, and Jaime team ropes. “Me and my dad go down almost every night to practice. If I’m doing something wrong, he’ll tell me what to do right and how to start catching again, and my mom turns out all my calves for me,” says Taylor.
Along with her parents’ encouragement, Taylor is motivated by her qualification to the 2018 NJHFR, and she’s eager to return. “This time, if I make it, I’ll be more mentally prepared and more confident because I’ve been there before,” she explains. “My dad tells me to always score sharp and rope sharp. Some other fun things I did were hanging around the camp with my friends and family, and I was also on the volleyball team for Kansas.” State finals is another favorite rodeo for Taylor. “I kind of like the pressure of it and getting ready, and knowing that if you catch this next one, you can be going to Nationals.”
In addition to breakaway roping, her favorite event, Taylor competes in the KJHSRA in barrel racing, team roping as a header with Pax Vogel, and ribbon running as the runner with Brayden Kunz. “I like the way it feels when you throw your rope around a calf’s neck, and it’s just so fun and I’ve had the most success in this event,” she explains. “I breakaway rope at other ropings, like ropings that me and my dad will go to, or Future Stars.” She also likes to ride with her 10-year-old brother, Ryder, who competes in the KJRA.
Taylor runs barrels on a mare named Uno, and team roped for several years on Benny. “Benny has helped me and taught me so much about what a head horse is supposed to do. He is all heart and he’s been in the family since he was born. But I’ll have to retire him soon as he’s getting some age on him, and start on another I’ve been riding, named Snip.” For her favorite event, Taylor also rides her favorite horse, Shorty. “He’s awesome. He’ll give you a chance every single time, and he’s the fastest horse I know. If there’s a calf that’s running really fast, he’ll catch up.” Taylor gives her horses a short break in the winter, but keeps up her breakaway practice and also enjoys spending time with her family’s dogs and cats, including a sheepdog named Daisy who occasionally travels to rodeos with the Raupes. “Taylor works hard, and winning doesn’t come easy, but she is a work horse,” says Jaime.
An eighth-grade student at Rose Hill Middle School, Taylor enjoys history, where she’s been studying early United States history. She also played basketball with her school’s team, the Rockets, this winter. Once her homework is done, she often heads to practice with her dad in their indoor arena. “Lots of people come to ride in it, and we’re thinking about putting on ropings there.” Taylor also has fun going to the movies with her family, but is more likely to spend her extra time roping the dummy. “My favorite brand is Grant Ropes—they’re not too stiff and not too limber, and they feel really good,” she says. “I’d like to go to state finals again and hopefully make it to Nationals. Then I’d like to go into high school rodeo and make Nationals again in the breakaway.”