story by Ruth Nicolaus Out of about 1,200 students at Loveland (Colo.) High School, Colton Clymer is the only one he knows that competes in […]
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Meet the Member Zaine Mikita
story by Darlene Craven
Faith. Zaine Mikita lives by it and applies it every day. “Faith is a powerful thing for sure.” Faith is what drives Zaine’s rodeo success to the tune of multiple state championships since he was four years old, including fourteen saddles, countless buckles and a pretty stout savings account for college. Going into the CSHSRA spring rodeo season, Zaine is ranked third in tie-down roping and second in cutting. He and partner, Austin Huwa, haven’t had the best fall season in the team roping, but they hope to change that this spring. “I’m not too worried going into state because anything can happen.” There have been years where he went into the state finals at third and left number one. And there have been years where Zaine was ranked first going into the finals, drawn a bad calf or two but still left with the state title. Faith is what has kept him practicing, striving and doing his best.
Zaine’s winning ways translate into state championships in tie-down roping in 2018 and 2019. Though relentless practicing is essential, he has learned about those times when practicing is not enough. He did not draw very good calves at last year’s national high school finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming, resulting in a less-than-stellar performance. “That place is not my favorite and the results weren’t what I was hoping for,” recalls Zaine. When things don’t go so well, Zaine’s dad puts on his coach hat and shows him how to work through it.
Zaine also puts in enough “game tape” time to make an NFL player jealous, reviewing his own runs as well as those of winning NFR tie-down ropers like Tyson Durfey. Zaine says, “I like his positivity and his philosophy that practice makes perfect.” Practicing was crucial in preparing for the Mike and Sherrylynn Johnson Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championship held in Las Vegas, Nevada in December 2019. Zaine takes his sponsorships (Tres Rios, OE Nutraceuticals, Willard Rope, and the most recent ones Boot Barn and CHG Aviation) seriously, expressing his gratitude through social media posts and representing the brand in the arena.
Eastern Colorado has been home to the Mikita family for more than three generations. Zaine’s dad, Larry, grew up in Calhan and Shannon, his mom, in Deer Trail. Sister Shadra, who is thirteen, rounds out Team Mikita, often cheering for Zaine in the stands. Zaine comes by his talent honestly. Larry, who rodeoed mostly in the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association as a calf roper, now works an excavating business as well as doing custom hay work. In addition to managing the family’s whirling schedule, Zaine’s mom, Shannon, works for Maverick Steel, a steel building supplier and erector that has been a supporter of Zaine’s. In addition, Zaine would like to thank the Huwa family, Ricky Lambert and Roger Huffman for all their support in and out of the arena.
An 18-year old senior now at Byers High School, Zaine is focused on tie-down roping and his future. In fact, he has obtained his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) permit and will be burning up the Colorado highways in summer 2020 to win the money necessary to convert his PRCA card to rookie status. In the meantime, winter means basketball where Zaine uses his almost 6’2” frame as a shooting guard for the Byers Bulldogs.
That future also includes enrollment to Weatherford College, in Weatherford Texas, with the goal of transferring to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, to obtain an ag business degree. He is excited about moving to Texas where there is always a roping and the weather is warm. Zaine does not like the cold and doing chores when it is cold is one of his least favorite things to do.
Chores mean caring for the family’s eleven horses, including Zaine’s top calf horse, Nic, a 13-year old quarter horse. Zaine and Larry have trained Nic since he was four, though Zaine says his dad should get most of the credit for Nic being such a great horse. “Nic always gives one hundred percent and I can rely on him all the time because he’s a pretty easy keeper.” Spicy, the cutting horse and Tater his heeling horse rounds out Zaine’s rodeo remuda.
Zaine never misses an opportunity to show his gratitude and express his faith. A favorite Psalm is 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Zaine knows that as long he puts God before himself, God will be there for him. With the ultimate goal of qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo, Zaine knows it requires talent, consistency and faith. His record shows he has an abundance of all three.