On The Trail with Faith Hoffman
Written by: Lily Weinacht< Back to Articles
Faith Hoffman of Kiowa, Colorado, is the reigning CSHSRA goat tying champion. The 18-year-old plans to defend her title at state finals at the end of May, earning her third trip to the NHSFR. Yet as quick as her hands and feet are in her favorite event, Faith is even quicker to encourage her fellow competitors, friends, and family.
Whether it’s giving someone a pep talk at a rodeo or sharing Bible verses, Faith is passionate about helping others. “Our family anthem is Ephesians 4:29, ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’,” says Dave Hoffman, Faith’s dad. “She’s really an encourager of others, and I think because of her, other kids are encouraging as well.”
Faith’s introduction to the rodeo world came through her dad, a first generation rodeo cowboy and bareback rider turned farrier. Dave competed in the CPRA and PRCA Mountain States Circuit, and later coached the Air Force Academy college rodeo team. Faith started traveling with him when she was five or six, making fast friends with his traveling partners and their children. She was competing in peewee barrels by the time she was eight, and two years later, Faith was a member of the NLBRA and had discovered her passion for goat tying. “It’s such an aggressive and quick sport,” says Faith, who also competes in barrel racing, pole bending, and breakaway roping. She even team ropes on occasion when someone needs a header. “I play basketball too, and I think that sport and goat tying cross over. When
I’m teaching girls to tie, I compare it to basketball moves and how you have to be quick and aggressive in both. I also like how you don’t need an expensive horse to compete in goats – it’s about the work you put into it. I feel like everywhere I turn, there’s someone who has my back or will pick me up, and that’s really shown me that rodeo’s not all about what you put into the arena, but also who you are outside.”
Last summer, Faith had the opportunity to teach goat tying at High Plains Rodeo Bible Camp in Hugo, Colorado. She also teaches goat tying lessons from home and at clinics. “It was super fun in Hugo. There were about sixteen kids in the goat tying, and it was a lot of fun to teach them and be in a spiritual environment. I was also a group leader there, so I lead devotions and prayer with five or six girls. It was pretty cool seeing them learning and realizing what Jesus is all about.” Faith also spoke during Cowboy Church at a CJRA rodeo in Yuma, Colorado, last summer when Dave wasn’t able to be there. He’s been involved in the rodeo ministry since he was 19, and has lead Cowboy Church in the CSHSRA the last year and a half. Last summer, he performed a number of water trough baptisms in arenas.
For Faith, rodeo especially complements her relationship with the Lord. “My favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11, ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’ I have that written down all over, and I can really see that in the rodeo world, because things can change so quickly. You can get hurt and be out a rodeo or a whole season, or other things can happen, and I think that it really puts an emphasis on faith. My mom tells me all the time if I have a bad rodeo or don’t win that God had the win planned for someone else that day.”
Faith received her own encouragement two autumns ago when her barrel horse, Cracker, fell during practice and broke his leg. “This was after Faith won state finals in the average on him. He was an amazing horse,” says Chelsea Hoffman, Faith’s mom. She works in marketing in Denver and does some of the photography for the CSHSRA. “We had ten people offering horses to her, which is huge in barrels. Rodeo has been really amazing for Faith and opened up opportunities like scholarships and being part of an amazing rodeo family. In junior high, she had sessions with college barrel racers, and she’s worked with Kaylee Moyer and Jill Francis, who are great goat tyers. She’d tie until midnight with them if she could. Logan Kenline and his family are very close and have helped her with her roping, and she’ll also rope with the Meeske family.”
At home, Dave helps Faith exercise horses, and Chelsea holds goats and videos runs. Faith competes on Johnny in pole bending, goat tying, and barrel racing. Johnny was voted CJRA Senior Girl Horse of the Year in 2016. Faith has also run barrels on Drifter, and recently brought home a mare, Barbie. “She’s a diva,” Faith says with a laugh. “She’s started in the breakaway, and I’m so excited to see her finish up. I’ll probably start her in barrels, too, since she’s super quick.” Family time is spent in the practice pen and at rodeos, and Faith’s itinerary this summer includes The Best of the Best Timed Event Rodeo in Gallup, New Mexico, the IFYR in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the NHSFR in Gillette, Wyoming. Her 11-year-old brother, Cade, travels to many of the rodeos and is an avid hiker. Over spring break, he and Dave went on a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon, and they have several other national parks on the list to visit.
This school year, Faith has started her mornings at Abbott Ranch in Kiowa before finishing her afternoon classes at Kiowa High School, where she’s a senior. “One day I might be pulling manure, the next we’re moving cows or hauling hay,” says Faith. “I didn’t grow up on a ranch, so it’s nice that I get to learn these things.” She’s also helping plan the class of 2017 graduation, and finished a banner year playing basketball with the Kiowa Indians.
This fall, she plans on attending Sheridan College in Wyoming on a rodeo scholarship. Faith’s focus is on goat tying and breakaway, as well as majoring in athletic training. “My dad was a coach in the Central Rocky Mountain Region, and I still know a lot of the coaches there. I’d eventually like to transfer to a university so I can get my masters and rodeo a fifth year in college,” says Faith. “I want to win the state championship in goats again, and we have some tough competitors this year. I’d like to go on to Nationals and win there, but I’m not going to stress over anything, because God has a plan.”