Meet the Member: Kali Carpenter
Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
story by Michele Toberer
In his rookie year with the Mid States Rodeo Association-East, Tim Taylor couldn’t be more thrilled with his standings in the association. He finished at the top of the leaderboard at the MSRA-E season finals as the number one rookie bull rider. The 18-year-old, Eastbrook High School senior hails from Marion, Indiana and has had bull riding on his mind since his mom, Nikki Burkholder, took him to his first rodeo in Fort Wayne, Indiana when he was just 3 years old. “I knew then, that I wanted to try bull riding; I think my mom thought it was going to be a phase I went through, but looking back now, it’s definitely not a phase.”
At just 3 ½ years of age, Tim started out riding sheep, and moved on up the ranks of rough stock as the years passed by, finally riding the big bulls as a Michigan High School Rodeo Association member where he was the 2018 MHSRA Champion Bull Rider, and 2017 MHSRA Reserve Champion Bull Rider. While still in the calf riding ranks, he attended a Gary Leffew bull riding school, and still utilizes some of the lessons he learned there about getting off bulls safely and correctly. When Tim was 14-years-old, he moved into riding bulls, and progressed in his skills after traveling to Wisconsin for a bull riding school with Curt Check. Then, between his freshman and sophomore year of high school, at 15, he went out to Texas to learn under the direction of Cody Custer. “I learned so much from Curt and Cody, that have really helped me be the rider I am today.”
As president of his school’s Future Farmers of America club, Tim enjoys being involved as a member and in the leadership of the association. He would like to run for president of the local FFA chapter and enjoys learning about small engines and soils in the school program. “The soils are interesting to me because both sides of my family have farmed for generations. We farm corn and soybeans, and I help with much of the farming.” The farming schedule works well with his rodeo aspirations, as his family is busy planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall, leaving his schedule during the busy summer rodeo months a little less busy for him.
Although Tim sees himself farming as his family has in the future, the true focus of his dreams are the big lights of the Professional Bull Rider’s Association. “In January, I’m going to start entering some of the PBR events and see how I do. I feel like I’ve been getting mentally and physically prepared for it, just waiting to turn 18 to be able to enter.” Tim practices on a stationary barrel, and lifts weights, using that to condition his body for riding bulls. “It helps keep me in shape so that I can move where I need to when I’m riding the bulls.” Tim feels that besides having his body ready, his mind is really where the challenge is. “Your mind is the biggest thing that can help or hurt you. As much as I’ve been dreaming of those big PBR lights, my biggest challenge is going to be blocking them out. I’ve got to have fun, and enjoy it and remind myself, ‘it’s just another rodeo, and just another bull.’”
Tim’s mom goes to many of his rodeos, but his dad Matt Taylor, who besides farming also owns an agricultural trucking company, travels with him to almost all of them. “I love the MSRA-E rodeos and getting to travel to all the small towns for them. They are great rodeos, and the association is full of great people.” Tim appreciates not only his parents, but also all the people he comes across in the rodeo world that encourage and support him along the way. “Being in the rodeo world is a great place to be, traveling up and down the road, in a different town every day.”
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