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Meet the Member Trey Runge
story by Michele Toberer
It all started due to a Christmas gift, and 8-year-old Trey Runge has found a passion for a sport he may never have realized otherwise. The third grader lives in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and when his dad, Gary Runge, received a Christmas gift of miniature Herefords this past December, a new world was opened up to him. “My wife, Chastity, gave me the cattle and we started playing with them and as I was researching what people did with them, we saw how they were used as bucking stock for rodeos. We decided to let Trey give it a try.”
Trey’s dad is an air traffic controller at the Greater Cincinnati International Airport, and his mom is an internal medicine doctor for Tri Health; and neither of them had any ties to the rodeo world. Gary had ridden a bull once at an extended bachelor party, but never thought the one-time experience from his youth would be something he’d spend miles traveling to watch his son compete in one day. But, since Trey went to a Gary Leffew clinic in Celina, Ohio this past spring, they have become immersed in a whole new lifestyle. “He went to a second clinic in Louisiana with Gary Leffew and started going to rodeos sanctioned by the International Miniature Rodeo Association. We have driven as far as 13 hours and as close as 3 hours for him to practice and compete. We’ve definitely been putting many miles on the truck! I guess we didn’t realize what we were getting into, because I thought we would maybe try it a few times a year. There is so much more available than we thought, and we’ve been impressed by the level of intensity and the positive, serious competitiveness there is at this youth level. It has been eye-opening. Trey has played many other sports; football, baseball, hockey, mixed martial arts, but this has by far become his favorite sport. It’s also been great to see how other competitors are so willing to help each other in rodeo, much more than any other sport we’ve been involved in.”
Trey currently competes in the Pee Wee division and is riding miniature bulls and bareback ponies. “I like riding bulls the most. I like the feeling of getting nervous when you get on their back, but when you nod your head, you’re just trying to ride and hang on, so that goes away. It’s like you’re on a roller coaster but you’re not strapped in and you’re just hanging on with one hand!” Trey’s favorite bull he’s been on is a black miniature Dexter named Rocky, owned by the Wooten Rodeo Company. “He’ll jump-kick then turn sharp and jump-kick somewhere else. I haven’t made a full ride on him yet, he’s a challenge for me.”
Trey attends Saint Lawrence Elementary where his favorite subject is gym class, and he enjoys going to the library. He loves to read, especially the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. Trey has a younger sister, Siena, who is 5 years old, and she has already given bareback riding a try and may follow in her brother’s footsteps. Since starting to compete at IMRA rodeos put on by Latting Rodeo Productions and Rafter H Mini Broncs, Trey has made new friends in the sport, and was able to meet a friend named Auston Young that lives just 15 minutes from him. “Auston is 10 years old and rides miniature bulls also, we practice together and he taught me how to goat tie.”
Trey is grateful to be involved in rodeo and is very appreciative of the help he’s been given from Mike Latting of Latting Rodeo Productions, Gary Leffew, Keith Wooten, Gus Haley, and his mom and dad. He is looking forward to going to his first IMRA finals in January, and is excited about making the trip to Guthrie, Oklahoma where they will compete at the Lazy E Arena and he could potentially earn his first champion buckle.