story by Mackie Ford I caught up with Haze Kuykendall, an Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association member and son of Justin and Mandie Kuykendall, […]
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Meet the Member Trigger Hargrove
story by Lindsay King
Trigger Hargrove from Sayre, Oklahoma, was approached by Kenna McLemore when she needed a partner for ribbon roping. Until their first rodeo together, Trigger had never tied off a calf before. He had roped plenty of steers and calves, but never in the context that ribbon roping requires. “Kenna said she needed another event for her all-around points. She asked if I would ribbon rope with her and that I could use her calf horse. I didn’t think we would win anything, just add some more points for her,” said the 12-year-old. Regardless, Trigger didn’t figure it would hurt to give the event a try.
In a matter of 13 seconds, Trigger and Kenna won the event at their first rodeo together. This trend continued throughout the year and into state finals. After winning the first round at state, the team just had to be under 20 seconds for each run. “The pressure was off after that first round and it was supposed to be smooth sailing. In the short round, I got off and while I was running to the calf he clotheslined me. We had maybe half a second to spare at the end. We got really lucky.”
Trigger may have felt the pressure in the moment of that run, but state finals was just another rodeo in his eyes. “State finals was a breeze compared to competing at something really big like nationals. That will get me worked up a bit.” Though he might be a stranger to the national stage, Trigger isn’t a new face in the short round atmosphere. “I don’t really get worked up anymore. I have been to enough rodeos and short rounds where I have been in those tough situations.”
His rodeo start was actually in the goat undecorating, but it’s the roughstock events Trigger likes the best. “I used to be ruthless about riding bulls. I would go every weekend to get on four or five bulls and then get on a few more at practice during the week.” He has simmered down on the bull riding, for now. Waiting until after nationals to get on a bull again almost drove Trigger completely crazy. As he enters his final year in the OKJHSRA, Trigger is sticking with team roping and ribbon roping, but hopes to add a roughstock event to the roster finally.
Ashley Hargrove, Trigger’s mom, is a roper. And his uncle, Spencer Mitchell, has made two appearances at the NFR. Simply put, Trigger grew up around rodeo. “My dad (Brent) rode junior bulls when he was a kid, but never got on the big ones. He got me into sheep riding and when I aged out of that he asked if I wanted to get on calves. Of course, I said yes. The first calf I got on I got bucked off, but that same day I rode a second one and I covered him. I have just kept at it since then.”
Most of the event specific advice comes from Trigger’s uncle, but the fundamental skills and needs to get down the road are covered by his mom. This Elk City Middle Schooler is proud of how he represented his state on the national stage and looks forward to the opportunity to make a second appearance there next year. When school starts up again, Trigger will be balancing rodeo with football and baseball, just as he did this year.