Meet the Member
story by Lindsay Humphrey Basically every event that Gracie Lewis can enter in the OKJHSRA is what she’s entered the entire season. Aside from the […]
story by Lindsay King
How do you make a tissue dance? Put a boogie in it. This is Trace Hurst’s signature joke when he’s trying to keep his nerves at bay before a run. “I remember I was at the Roy Cooper roping in the 12 and under. On the first day I roped in the tie down and I got really nervous, but on the second day I didn’t get nervous for the breakaway and I made the short round. I just have to go be myself and not get nervous and everything will be alright,” said the now 13-year-old. In addition to roping calves in both tie-down and breakaway, Trace also competes in the ribbon roping and the goat tying. He likes to tie a calf the best, even more so than tying a goat.
“My other events I can’t do for the rest of my life, but tie-down roping I can. It’s just so quick that it’s a lot of fun.” Kneeling on the ground over the calf with his hands moving at lightning speed is where Trace feels most at home. “Learning to tie wasn’t easy at all, but my dad (Jerry) ties calves so he showed me ways of doing it faster.” Between tying calves and goats, Trace gets a lot of practice with his piggin’ string. The repetition of tying for two events works in Trace’s favor as his muscle memory just keeps getting faster and faster. All of the hard work paid off for Trace last summer when he won the year-end awards in the OJRA for the goat tying, breakaway and tie-down roping.
Trace credits his success to lots of practice, great mounts and help from his family. “My dad has really helped me out with some nice horses and showing me how to rope faster. My mom (Laurie) is great because she helps saddle my horses and she always has dinner ready after practice so that helps us out a lot.” Trace’s 15-year-old sister, Kayleah, is a built-in traveling partner for the young roper. “It’s pretty fun to rodeo with my sister. She tries to encourage me and I try to do the same for her.”
Caleb Smidt is Trace’s rodeo role model, not only because he’s a talented calf roper though. “I remember I was at a roping one time when a friend of Caleb’s filmed my tie-down run and sent it to Caleb. He said my calf horse (Rusty) looks like Caleb’s horse, Pocket.” Although Trace has never met Caleb and Rusty hasn’t met his doppelganger either, they have talked over Facetime. Trace has been a fan of Caleb ever since. Floyd, a 14-year-old bay gelding, is Trace’s other rope horse while Gun Smoke, a 20-year-old pony, is his goat horse.
In his second year with the OKJHSRA, Trace is working on being more consistent. But when he isn’t practicing or traveling to a rodeo, he’s a bit of a homebody. “I really like to stay home and relax, usually I am just hanging out with my friends. We like to go bowling or roller skating sometimes.” His friends are a combination of rodeo competitors and school buddies who play basketball and baseball with Trace. Only second to rodeo, baseball is Trace’s sport of choice between the three. “I like it more because there is a lot more action in it for me than basketball.” Trace plays second base and pitches for the Eagles of Mounds Public Schools. A number’s guy, Trace really likes his math class and hopes to become a pilot one day.
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