story by Lindsay Humphrey At the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo, the trap shooting contest quite literally came down to the wire. NMHSRA member […]
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Meet the Member Tekota Lumpkin
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Long-time baseball veteran, Tekota Lumpkin is a senior at Los Lunas High School and a rookie in the NMHSRA. He traded in his mitt for a different kind of glove, one that slides into a suitcase handle on the back of a bronc. “I never got as much adrenaline from playing baseball as I do in rodeo,” said the 18-year-old. “The moment I got on my first wild bronc, that feeling was so much better than playing baseball or riding a bull.” Tekota’s first brush with rodeo was four practice bulls alongside a good buddy. It was clear the event wasn’t what Tekota was looking for. That was 2.5 years ago. He intended to start competing in the NMHSRA last year, but COVID wrecked those plans. Which makes this Tekota’s first and last season with high school rodeo.
As the only bareback rider in the association, all Tekota must do to win a buckle is post a score. As a first-time bareback rider that task can be daunting, but Tekota is already showing his stripes behind the chutes. “The third horse I ever got on turned into a 50-second ride. He took me into the fence and knocked me out, so I was just stuck there for a while.” That horse pulled the same stunt at the first spring rodeo of this season. “He wouldn’t really buck, he just ran straight out of the chute and sent me off the opposite side.” Tekota’s fall season was much more successful as he covered a large majority of his broncs. Make no mistake though, he made some marks this spring as well.
At the Baca Rodeo Co. Series, Tekota won the average which sent him home with a $1,500 check, a new buckle and a pair of Justin Boots. In the spring of 2020, this was the series where Tekota got on his first bronc ever. He won the Iron Man Award for his 50-second hangup. It was Tekota’s uncle, Jake Mow, who introduced him to bareback riding and has helped guide his rodeo career so far. “My uncle rode bareback horses in high school and then later in the pros. He always talked about his time in rodeo and so I finally decided I wanted to give it a try.” Jake has taught Tekota almost everything he knows about rodeo and roughtstock. “He showed me how a rigging works and how to get my hand out. He gave me a lot of pointers, but mostly he just told me to lay back and spur the hair off ‘em.”
Even though Jake is clearly Tekota’s biggest influence in rodeo, that doesn’t keep his parents, Cleve and Shawnda, and his sister, Hannah, 14, from playing a role also. “They all go to my rodeos; they’re in the stands screaming for me. I don’t think they’ve missed a rodeo yet. They’ve been there for everything. I don’t think they ever missed a baseball game either.” Tekota might be the first in his immediate family to take an interest in rodeo, but his heritage is rooted in ranching and the Western way of life. “My dad used to work on ranches and my grandpa (Steve Lumpkin) still lives on one. We go help him whenever we get a chance.”
Grandpa Lumpkin has always been an influential figure in Tekota’s life. “My grandpa has taught me a lot about life. I used to go stay with him in the summers and help him work on the ranch. My favorite thing that he always tells me is ‘the Lord doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves.’” As Tekota prepares for a summer season of open rodeo, he has his sights set on obtaining his PRCA permit after graduation. He’ll be attending San Juan Community College in the fall where he’ll work towards certificates in welding. This career path will allow Tekota to pursue professional rodeo while making a living on the rodeo trail.