Riley Bowen is in her final year of competition in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. The 18-year-old cowgirl lives near Sylvia, Kan., about thirty […]
Roper Review: Kyle Lockett
Written by: Courtesy< Back to Articles
story by Leigh Lockett
Fourteen years later and by the grace of God this man is returning to the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas, to compete in his eighth National Finals rodeo! Those who know him are not surprised. He will go down in history as one of the greatest cowboys that has ever lived! One who some will say, walked away from the game too early in his career. It was a choice he made for himself and for his family.
2005 was the last year Kyle Lockett competed at the NFR. He was 28 years old. He finished that year second in the world with his partner Wade Wheatley. At the time, I was pregnant with our first child, who was born later that summer. That was his seventh and last trip to the big show (so we thought).
I always encouraged him to continue to rodeo and pursue his dream of one day winning the world, but he’d just smile and say he “didn’t want to be away from his family.”So life went on and four babies later he had evolved into the greatest Mr. mom you’ve ever seen! From changing diapers, to warming up breastmilk, to lugging multiple car seats, to pick-ups and drop offs to nap times and spoon feeding baby food, to adjusting to life with multiple small children, which meant a play pen in the arena, saddling and hauling ponies to brandings and jackpots, to strapping down car seats in a golf cart for a game of golf with the guys. All of this while I worked 1-2 jobs at the hospital, this guy had it down! It wasn’t unusual for me to get texts of other moms telling me how Kyle had handled all four kids, by himself at a rodeo or a branding like a pro!
When the best headers in the world would call him and try to recruit him out of retirement, only for him to turn them down and say that he wanted to stay home with his family…it makes you grateful that you married such an admirable man, but it also makes you feel a sense of guilt. I always knew he was the best of the best and felt like too bad we couldn’t just load up and go! But rodeo with four kids? Dream on. It would be a divide in our family. He would have to be gone 9-10 months out of the year and that was something he wasn’t willing to sacrifice.
He once told me, “Ii don’t miss rodeoing, I just wish I could make the finals one more time!” Oh okay Kyle – dream on – that’s impossible. The only way to make the finals is to go hard all year and hope that you land somewhere in the top 15 money standings! That’ll never happen (so I thought!)
Well last winter he thought he’d do his friend Aaron Tsinagine a favor and heel for him at some rodeos in Texas. It wouldn’t be a long time away from home. He could fly in and fly out and make a weekend out of it. The two ended up winning San Angelo which allowed Kyle an invitation to compete at the infamous Houston rodeo! A once in a lifetime chance for a guy like Kyle, who doesn’t rodeo full time, to earn a solid pay check! He was gone for three weeks, but it was worth it! At the end of the month long rodeo, he and his partner Ty Blasingame WON IT! I was working at the hospital, hiding out in an empty room watching it on live on my phone! I screamed when I knew what had just happened! He had just won over $50,000 and earned himself a shot to make the NFR one last time! For the next three months, his name was at the top of the PRCA heeling standings! My husband has known since March that he will be returning to the big show! A thought that is almost too big to wrap your mind around! He will be 42 when he competes again and is still just as sharp as ever!
This last weekend the 2019 season came to an end. The top 15 contestants in each event have been determined and he will go into it ranked the #6 heeler in the world! He has picked his partner and will rope with past world champion Erich Rogers! What an accomplishment!
The last time he competed he was 28, unmarried and had no kids. This year will be a bit of a different story. Our kids know exactly what their dad has achieved and are his biggest cheerleaders! They will be 13, 11, 9 and 6 when they watch their dad compete against the best of the best for 10 straight nights!
So if you’re picking a fantasy team or thinking about rooting for an under-dog, place your bets on this one! There is nothing he can’t do! If you’ve never been, you need to go!
2019 will definitely go down as the wildest year thus far!