Written by: Lily Weinacht< Back to Articles
Olin Hannum wasted very little time beginning his rodeo career. He was just three when he started chasing calves astride his dad’s pony, then roped and steer wrestled his way through high school rodeo. The 40-year-old, originally from Ogden, Utah, won his first state titles in 1995 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling, followed by a stint of college football on University of North Carolina’s team. His rodeo roots ever tugging, he joined the PRCA in 2003 and qualified for his first WNFR in 2011. “Rodeo has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember,” says Olin, whose dad, Jack Hannum, was a 5-time WNFR qualifier, and mom, Lynn Hannum, worked the WNFR twice as a timer. Olin returned to the floor of the Thomas & Mack Center in December of 2017 in the steer wrestling and finished 9th in the world standings. “I felt like I should have done better — I had high expectations — but I’ve been around long enough to know that you can sit and dwell on it, or you can go and fix some of the things you made mistakes on.” He finished the season with $145,630 and invitations to The American and the Calgary Stampede. “I’m really excited to make it back to those rodeos. They do a good job of putting you up, and I’ve done good at Houston, so I’m really excited about getting back there.”
Also on the radar is the 3rd Annual Olin Hannum Open Jackpot, taking place in Tremonton, Utah, on May 5. Olin says he was talked into hosting the first jackpot by a good friend, and the event took hold and now counts as a Junior NFR qualifier. 5 Star Equine sponsored the jackpot last year, and Olin joined their team of riders that fall. “I ride Burns Saddlery’s saddles, and they sell a lot of 5 Star pads, so we got a relationship going,” says Olin, who’s used their pads a number of years. “When they sponsored my jackpot, they gave a couple of their pads away. It was something good for these younger guys to realize that having a good pad and a good saddle will help your horse’s longevity, and that some of these investments will pay dividends in the long run. I like the fact that I don’t have to use multiple pads, and they fit your horse after a couple of rides.”
His horses, Turtle and Maverick, are his main mounts again this year, while Olin recently started jumping practice steers again since he’s on the mend from a shoulder injury sustained during the WNFR. “The hardest part about where I live is finding a place to practice indoors and having availability,” Olin explains. He and his wife, Natalie, moved to Malad, Idaho, several years ago, looking for a rural community to raise their children, Cheznie (5), Kennedy (3), and Jackson (1). “My wife is a second-grade teacher, so she stays home most of the time, but my daughters traveled with me a lot last year and we had a lot of fun. I have a little pony for them, and they kind of take over on my horses.”
Olin also operates a custom cabinet business, Arrowhead Cabinets, which he originally started in Ogden before moving his shop to Malad. “I mostly do kitchen cabinets, but we’ve done some furniture, so it’s a little bit of everything. I used to hunt and fish, but with the cabinet shop and rodeoing, I don’t do it as much as I used to. My wife and kids and I love to go camping, especially in the summer.”
Rodeoing on the Wilderness Circuit keeps Olin closer to home, while he’s qualified for the RNCFR three times and finished third in the average at the Wilderness Circuit Finals last year. “There are so many good rodeos on this circuit, and I enter a few in the calf roping, but I’m a long way from calling myself a calf roper,” Olin says with a laugh. His younger brother, Jake Hannum, is the tie-down roper of the family, qualifying for the WNFR in 2007. “I think passion is one of the biggest things (that motivates). It’s something you love to do, and you get up and do it every day. I think the people that really love it have a hard time knowing when the end is, and I think I’ll be one of those guys down the road who might slow down, but I still see myself going down the road and circuit rodeoing.
“I try to take things one day at a time. All of us have the big goals in mind as far as making the National Final Rodeo and doing well there, but I just want to be prepared and ready to go to these winter rodeos. I want to bulldog to the very best of my ability, and if I can do a better job at that, the winning will take care of itself.”