story by Teri Edwards Katie Leibold was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she lived for the first 22 of her 26 years. She […]
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If you’re a spectator at the Allen family arena, you’ll get to see a cowboys and Indians battle. Craig Allen, age five and a Northeast Junior Rodeo Association member, usually plays as one of the cowboys, and his younger brother Clancy, age two, is usually an Indian.
The boys occupy themselves by the hour with the game, says their mom, Christen Allen. (And sometimes the parents join in.) After Craig is done practicing his events, he’ll get on a little pony, and fall off when his parents or brother shoot him. And usually, somebody ends up getting tomahawked.
When he’s not getting shot or scalped, Craig enjoys doing the pole bending, flag race, barrel racing, goat ribbons, breakaway roping, junior ranch bronc riding, and mutton bustin’. He rides Yella for his events, but the boys also have Buck, Squirrel, Gunny, Roanie, and Coldbear as other mounts.
Craig is a kindergarten student at Sperry (Okla.) Public School, where he loves to play outside at recess time on the monkey bars and do the fun stairs. He loves to get “smileys” at school for his good behavior, and he loves math and reading.
He has competed in rodeo since he was two, and is in his second year of NJRA competition. He is the 2013 Pole Bending Year End champ for the six and under division. Prior to the NJRA, he was a member of the Checotah Roundup Club and the Okay Roundup Club. He won four buckles in those associations.
Christen and Cody love what rodeo does for the kids. “It’s something we all do together. We’re at rodeos to support our kids and help them, and rodeo teaches them to take care of their animals and to train them. It teaches them patience and sportsmanship with the other kids. The kids get quite a bit out of it.”
Christen and Cody and their boys work together on the family business, Pay Window Performance Horses, so rodeo is an extension of their family time. “We spend time together in the arena and the barns. We feed together, ride together, train together, and when we’re at the rodeos, it’s the same way.” When he grows up, he’d like to be a cowboy and a roper. The family lives in Sperry, Oklahoma.