Jake Cruzan lives in Cave Creek, Ariz., a recent transplant from Cortez, Colo. His family moved a month ago and the National High School Reserve […]
Zack and Jet Toberer
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
The Toberer boys have had the privilege of experiencing rodeo from the west to the east coast. Getting their start in central California, they have now made a home in Raeford, N.C., and will compete in their second year with the JrSRA. “It has the toughest competition available and it gives us the chance to compete against the best competitors around,” said Zack, 15.
Zack, a sophomore, competes within the senior age division in the tie down roping, team roping and chute dogging. “He is currently working on expanding to the steer wrestling and will compete once we get a horse for him,” said mom. Younger brother, Jet, a fifth grader, competes within the junior age division in the calf riding, breakaway, goat tying and team roping. “I want to win the calf riding and all-around titles and maybe take a shot at a buckle in the team roping,” said Jet, 11.
Both parents (Mike, who teaches U.S. military special forces how to pack, and Michele, the family ranch manager who books events and makes arrangements for horse boarding) rodeoed throughout high school, so naturally, have raised their four kids with a rodeo lifestyle, but it wasn’t within the arena that competition began. Mike, a world champion and two-time reserve world champion mule packer, got Zack into youth competitions at around the age of six. The youngster went on to winning two youth world championships and two reserve youth world championships, at the Bishop Mule Days Celebration. By the age of nine, Zack got interested in roping, and with the help of Jerold and Leo Camarillo, was competing full force. “I hope to compete in packing again someday and go back to Bishop, but I am just focusing on rodeo right now,” said Zack.
While Jet made pack trips, he never competed at Bishop. “We had quit going by the time he was old enough to compete,” explained Michele. A little brother’s watchful eye spurred Jet into action, but it was bull riding that was on the brain. Having entered the mutton bustin’ prior, Jet decided that he was “big” enough to start calf riding at five years old. “A good friend of ours [PBR contractor, Ryan McClure] saw a natural talent in him and started helping,” said Michele. At the same time, Zack was in need of a roping partner so taught Jet to rope and he later started roping with the Camarillo‘s. “Calf riding is my favorite. I want to ride in the PBR someday,” said Jet.
In their first year with the JrSRA, both boys qualified for the finals. Zack was able to finish in the top four in both tie down and team roping, with partner Ty Worley. “I mostly heel. I find it to be more fun and challenging in getting in time,” he said of his favorite event. Jet took the reserve champion calf riding title and then finished in the top four of the breakaway standings. “I owe it all to our family and friends who have helped us along the way. We couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
The Toberer boys have even gotten the opportunity to see how behind the scenes of a rodeo works as the family recently hosted a NCHSRA event at their home facility of Mountain Mule Packer Ranch. “It was a lot of work, but fun,” said Zack, who ended up winning the tie down roping and team roping both nights. While Zack will continue to work both associations, Jet will join dual forces next year with the junior high division.
Zack hopes to attend Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Tex. “I’m not sure what I want to major in, yet, but I would eventually like to go on to do good in the pros and eventually coach roping,” he said. For now though, he hopes to conquer as much as he can within the JrSRA. “I would like to win the all-around. I started off good, so would like to get back on a roll and keep winning,” he said.
The brothers will be joined by their sister (Grace, 8) next season. “She has just started running barrels and the boys have started her on roping,” said Michele. When the time is right, the boys will exert their expertise on to their youngest sister (Faith, 3). “We have our parents and Jerold to thank for all that they’ve done. They have made it possible for us to rodeo,” said Zack. “I would also like to thank my sponsors Rope Smart and Rope-For-Less for supplying me with the necessary tack to go on.”