Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Members Butzer Family
story by Michele Toberer
The Butzer family of Orrville, Ohio, is living the rodeo life. Dawn and Brant Butzer met on a blind date in high school and have spent the past 21 years building their life, including adding three daughters; Britney, 12, Brooklyn, 10, and Brystol, 7. Dawn completed schooling for early childhood education after high school; but after children and growing responsibilities in the family cattle business, she chose to focus on her family and assist with the family business. “My husband’s father and grandfather have both been beef cattle farmers before him. My husband works with his dad as a beef cattle broker, and 9 years ago we started our own livestock trucking business.” Connections through the beef cattle industry brought rodeo to the forefront of the Butzers’ lives 6 years ago, after developing a friendship with Indiana rodeo couple, Tye and Ronda Casey. “Tye was an auctioneer and calf roper and Ronda barrel raced, we went to a rodeo to watch them and thought it looked like fun.” The family quickly went from watching rodeo to trying it, and now it is a huge focus of their daily life and goals for their future.
Barrel racing sparked Dawn’s passion, and although she had horses that she’d ridden for pleasure, entering fun shows and looking for speed was new. “My girls have definitely caught on faster than me, but we enjoy entering together. The girls love to beat me, which happens often. They are way gutsier than me.” Three years ago, an old rodeo horse obtained from Kim Overholt for Britney, put the family on the rodeo track. “The second rodeo she ran, she won, and we thought ‘wow this will be so easy’, then the whole season she didn’t win another dollar.” That didn’t deter the determined family however, and in 2016, Britney joined the Mid States Rodeo Association along with her mom, and slowly success began to follow their runs. “We kind of threw Britney into it, she was our guinea pig into rodeo life, but she had an experienced horse so that helped a lot. In 2017, Brooklyn and Brant also joined the MSRA as members; Brant started team roping three years go.”
All but the youngest Butzer, Brystol, have been competing members of the MSRA in 2018. Brystol, a first-grader at Orrville Elementary, is riding Brant’s heel horse, a 9-year-old sorrel Quarter Horse mare named Pencil and will begin exhibitioning at rodeos soon. Fourth-grader, Brooklyn, enters on 17-year-old sorrel mare, Sammie and is often the crowd favorite. “Sammie’s a gem, and so consistent on the pattern every time.” Britney is in sixth grade and has found winning to be a common occurrence since barrel racing trainer, Dave Treharne, found her 13-year-old sorrel mare, Dr. Robin Jo, known as Joey. “They won the MSRA rodeo in Lisbon, Ohio and that placed her high in the standings; after a competitive MSRA season she made the season finals.” Dawn rides a 7-year-old red roan Paint gelding out of Ronda Casey’s stallion, named Undniablyfly. “He’s a really cool guy and I’ve spent this last year seasoning him; it’s been a challenging season, but he’s coming along.” Both girls ran their horses in SEBRA this season and just competed at the 2018 SEBRA National Finals, with Brooklyn as the youngest finals’ competitor in the association’s history.
Although rodeo now takes up most of the family’s time, the well-rounded girls earn straight-A’s in school and are involved in extra-curricular activities. Brooklyn is the social butterfly of the family that likes to play basketball and do gymnastics. “Britney plays basketball and loves to do everything you can on a horse. She’s learning to breakaway and team rope. She and Brant recently entered their second team roping jackpot together and placed 6th out of 60 teams with Britney heeling for her dad.”
“We often tease about all we could own if we didn’t do rodeo, it’s definitely not a cheap hobby, but we wouldn’t trade it. The family time we’ve shared in a thrilling sport is invaluable. The MSRA rodeos are always family events we can travel to together, and we’ve made great rodeo friends that are always there to cheer you on.”