Jennifer grew up horseback riding, playing polo, and helping her late father, Phil Shurden, a blacksmith and horse trainer. As a teen, Jennifer was an […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Shayne Porch works as a pickup man in the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association. He grew up on the family ranch outside Wanblee, S.D., the son of Ralph and Dianna Porch. He started rodeo competition when he was eight years old, competing in Little Britches Rodeo, 4-H, and high school rodeo, in the tie-down roping, team roping, and steer wrestling.
Shayne qualified for the National High School Finals in 1993 in the tie-down roping, and graduated from Kadoka High School that same year. He began his NRCA competition in 1993, and also joined the South Dakota Rodeo Association. He qualified for the Indian National Finals in 2002.
After high school, Shayne focused mostly on team roping, occasionally bulldogging. He quit competing for several years in the late 1990’s, then, while watching high school kids ride broncs, he stepped in to help. They needed a pickup man, and Shayne took on the job. He learned from observing others and plenty of experience. Now he picks up at NRCA, SDRA and high school rodeos, and hopes to add some pro rodeos this summer.
A good pickup man needs to know horses and bulls, he says. He needs “to be able to read livestock, see what’s going to happen, and be in the right place at the right time.” A good pickup man also needs good horses. “You’ve got to be mounted. I try to make sure I’m riding pretty broke horses. If a wreck starts happening, I have to be in the right place.” He currently has eight pickup horses at his ranch, with a few more young ones that might be worked into the rotation this summer.
Shayne is married to Heidi, and they have two little girls: Shaylee is six and Haylee is three. The girls love to rodeo with their daddy and go with him about every weekend they can get away. A couple of his pickup horses are their horses. His daughters “come with me to take care of the horses,” he says. And the horses reciprocate. “Those horses take care of those little girls. They’re good babysitters.”
He has been selected to pick up the NRCA Finals every year since 2008, and the SDRA Finals four times in the past six years. Of all his involvement in rodeo, picking up is his favorite. It’s an adrenaline rush, he says, and the best part is “getting a thanks from a cowboy or a parent if you save their kid, or get him out of a wreck.” Shayne and Heidi ranch on a place adjoining his parents and run a herd of commercial black cattle.