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Meet the Member Wyatt Risinger
story by Michele Toberer
Louisiana Junior High School Rodeo Association rookie, Wyatt Risinger is fully enjoying his first year in rodeo. Starting out in the association as a Junction City High School eighth-grader, he has not only already gained friends that feel like family but has developed a love for a sport that has changed the plans for his future. Wyatt lives in Spearsville, Louisiana with his parents, Brad and Alicia Risinger, and he has two older sisters, Holland, 22, and Henley, 21. Alicia works as a fourth-grade teacher at Junction City Elementary School, and Brad is employed as an A-Operator at an oil refinery producing gasoline and diesel. Brad is an LHSRA alumni and spent his high school years as a steer wrestler, so he was happy to oblige his son when he asked about learning the sport. “We live just 15 minutes from Tom Carney, so one day after I’d been watching Tyler Waguespack steer wrestling on television, I really got interested and asked my dad to take me there to learn. It was a little different than I thought, and it was way more fun than watching it on t.v.” Tom Carney offers Steer Wrestling 101 schools and clinics in Bernice, Louisiana, where many of the top steer wrestlers in today’s sport have gotten their start.
Prior to starting chute dogging, Wyatt, 13, had spent most of his spare time playing football as a left tackle and nose guard, and weight lifting; and he had his sights set on sports and becoming a civil engineer. He still has plans to earn a degree as a civil engineer and is grateful that his love of math will help him along that path, but he has now added goals to his list that include becoming a national high school steer wrestling champion, as well as a PRCA world champion steer wrestler down the road.
“I’ve learned a lot of techniques from Tom that have helped me get started well in chute dogging; like, stay square, look down the pen, and have a wide base.” Wyatt also appreciates that while he’s at Tom’s he often gets to practice with Tyler Waguespack, Tristin Martin, and Gabe, Gavin, and Grant Soileau. “They have all really helped me so much and I’m so glad I get to practice with great steer wrestlers like them.”
As he becomes a freshman next year, riding horses to move into steer wrestling will not be foreign to him, as he’s spent his life riding horses at home on his family’s cattle farm. “We raise crossbred cattle, and I help do a lot of chores around the farm. I work the cows, feed the horses and dogs, help my Papaw haul cattle, and I help cut and rake hay. We ride our horses to help work the cows and we like to team rope at home for fun also.” When Wyatt isn’t helping around the farm, he fills his time with other outdoor activities like hunting for duck and deer, and fishing.
Wyatt looks to some of the professional steer wrestlers like Luke Branquinho, Tyler, Waguespack, Tyler Pearson, and Ty Erickson for inspiration, “I like the way they do things, and I’d love to have a horse like Tyler Pearson’s Scooter one day. I’m really grateful that I’ve started chute dogging and found a new sport that I love.”
“The LJHSRA has been really helpful and it’s been really fun, but I really couldn’t do any of this without my mom and dad, and the help of Tom Carney.”