story by Lily Landreth Jaytyn Hash took home his first NLBRA world title at the 2019 NLBFR last summer in the team roping, a victory […]
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World Champion Kolton Hartle
story by Lily Landreth
Kolton Hartle is the 2019 NLBRA Senior Boy World Champion Steer Wrestler. This is the 17-year-old’s first world title with the association, and while he’s a two-time qualifier, this was his first year competing at the NLBFR. “I had an idea that I was close (to winning) since I was maxed out on points right along with a bunch of other boys,” recalls Kolton, who also competed there in tie-down roping. The first round of steer wrestling put him in the top 10, while he took second in the second round. Kolton was the last to throw his steer in the short round, knowing all he needed was a solid run to clinch the title.
The cowboy from Rochester, Indiana, uses his world champion steer wrestling saddle often and wears his buckle, but Kolton finds the relationships he’s built in the association are just as meaningful as a world title. “The reward aspect of what Little Britches has to offer is what motivates me, with all the friends you get to make and the experiences you get out of it. And when it comes to graduation, it opens your eyes to rodeo schools and the people going there, friends that you’ve met in your high school career.”
The second generation to rodeo in his family, Kolton and his 20-year-old brother, Dalton, joined the NLBRA in 2017. The junior rodeo association they were competing in at the time co-sanctioned with the NLBRA and friends encouraged the Hartles to give it a try. “We’ve been to a bunch of other states rodeoing with them just to see the competition,” says Kolton. “That’s what we like the most about it, meeting new people and having relationships with them. One of my favorites was Searcy, Arkansas. We met a lot of good friends down there and enjoyed a bunch of rodeoing that weekend. I liked the competitiveness and how they were so open about other states coming to their rodeo.”
Kolton also competes in the Indiana High School Rodeo Association, where he is leading the steer wrestling and all-around, and sitting in the top five of tie-down roping and team roping. He’s qualified for the NHSFR the last two years, making the 26-hour drive with his parents, Stacy and Lisa Hartle. The family travels to rodeos together as often as possible, and they’ll be cheering Dalton on as he competes in the 2020 Junior Ironman. “My dad is for sure one of the people who has always pushed us and kept us on good horses, and told us to keep our head up,” says Kolton. “Another person is my brother, who is always pushing me. When we were competing together we would go back and forth on who was winning the events, but at the end of the day, we were always brothers and happy for each other. And there have been countless friends that have helped us along the way with things like getting horses.”
Bay, Kolton’s steer wrestling horse, carried him to his NLBRA world title, while he uses Slick primarily for tie-down roping and Whiskey as an all-around horse. Jax is his backup horse, whom Kolton trained, along with Whiskey. He and Dalton have an arena at home to ride in, but haul to friends’ arenas to practice on cattle. Since Kolton started homeschooling three years ago as a freshman, he has more flexibility in his schedule to exercise horses, as well as help his parents with their trucking business. “I help them with hauling equipment—I like driving the truck and trailer.
“My goals for this year are to be invited to the next Junior Ironman, and to compete out there and put my best foot forward. And I’d like to come back and defend my (steer wrestling) title and maybe win a few more.”