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: Tia Wallace
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Tia Wallace is a member of the KJHSRA Cinch Team for the second consecutive year in the breakaway roping. The 14-year-old Dodge City, Kan., native started rodeoing at the age of five, introduced to the sport by her family. Her granddad, Rusty Tooley, competed in team roping for a number of years and qualified for the NFR in 1982. Tia has several notable qualifications under her belt as well, qualifying for the NJHFR in both 2014 and 2015, as well as winning the short-go in the breakaway roping for her age division at the 2014 Rising Stars Calf Roping.
“I like being with my family and friends, and I love competing,” says Tia, who competes in breakaway roping, barrel racing, goat tying, ribbon roping as the runner, and team roping. She’s heading for JD Robson for the first time this year, and the pair have been practicing often in preparation for the season. “I really like the breakaway roping,” Tia adds. “I know I can go out there and be fast.” She’s received much of her coaching from her granddad, who lives close enough for Tia to saddle her horses and ride to his house for practice. “I look up to my granddad because he’s taught me pretty much everything in rodeo, and when I need help, I ask him. He still ropes a little bit, and I’m over at his house all the time.” Although Tia’s dad, Troy Wallace, and her granddad can’t always come to her rodeos because of work, her mom, Amy Wallace, and nana, Carla Tooley, are sure to be found just outside the arena. “My mom takes videos to show the family,” says Tia. Her brother, Ty (18) plays baseball through the spring and summer, and the brother and sister alternate coming to watch the other’s sport.
The Wallace family makes their home a few miles outside of Dodge City, where the wind always blows, according to Tia. It has to blow fierce for her and her horses to miss a day of practice, however. “I love my horses a lot,” says Tia. “My breakaway horse, Diesel, is really special. I’ve ridden him four years in the breakaway, and he’s ornery to everybody and everything, but he gets along with me. I use Red for barrel racing, and he’s a lot like Diesel, but Julio, my team roping horse, is friendly to everyone.” Four other horses and three dogs also make their home with the Wallaces.
Outside of the arena, Tia is an eighth grader at Comanche Middle School. Her favorite class is social studies, where they’ve been learning about all the U.S. presidents, while Tia also enjoyed playing basketball for the second year with the Comanche Coyotes. As soon as her backpack hits the floor at home, however, Tia heads for the barn to saddle horses. After practice, she enjoys shooting hoops with Ty, and the entire family watches basketball together. Over spring break, they went to watch their favorite team, the Oklahoma Sooners, play in Oklahoma City.
When it comes to her favorite sport, Tia’s goals include adding to her growing collection of saddles, totaling nine at present. She won the all-around, pole bending, breakaway roping, and junior team roping year-end titles in the Young Guns Youth Rodeo Series in Dodge City this winter. One of her favorite rodeos is the KJHSRA state finals, particularly since the arena works well for her and her horses. “I’ll be going out to the Future Stars this month for breakaway roping,” Tia finishes, “and I want to make it out to Nationals this year in all my events.”