Farm Talk

March 19, 2013

Rodeo team practices with real work

by Kenny Ragland
CNHI

Parsons, Kansas — Kansas farm boys know exactly what it means to “Cowboy up,” when it comes to working spring calves at Beachner Ranch near Galesburg, Kan.

Ty Swiler, 18, Cody Kendall, 17, Sage Hall, 17, and Caden Kendall, 15, put their able horsemanship and cattle working skills to the test for the spring calves at Beachner Ranch.

Working just over 50 February born calves, the rodeo team made short work of ear notching, implants, and immunizations for scours, blackleg and Rhino virus (IBR). They also castrated the steers.

Prior to that, they competed at the Junior Ranch Rodeo Association finals in Pawhuska, Okla. They won first place in the All Around category and Doctoring and second place in Branding and Sorting.

For the bronc’ riding competition, team member Hall won third place. This is the second year in a row they have won first place in the All Around category. Cody Kendall’s horse Juice received Top Horse honors.

“We are very proud of them,” said mom Gina Kendall. “I so enjoy watching them compete.”

Other parents are just as proud, of the rodeo and other awards.

“It was great to see his hard work pay off,” said dad Bob Swiler of his son Ty. “He also won the Equine Science FFA award.”

The team competed in many rodeos to earn their way to the finals in Pawhuska.

“They were in 10 rodeos over the course of the last year,” said dad Calvin Kendall. “They were in several locations throughout Kansas and Oklahoma.”

“They were in 10 rodeos over the course of the last year,” said dad Calvin Kendall. “They were in several locations throughout Kansas and Oklahoma.”

All the boys learned horsemanship and cowboy skills from their fathers.

“I still compete on an adult team,” said Calvin Kendall. “I rodeo with Sage’s (Hall) dad.”

“We learned a lot from just watching them,” said Sage Hall. “Most of our training comes from their advice.”

Along with horsemanship skills comes the gear, and the boys expressed outfitting a rodeo cowboy doesn’t come cheap, especially their horse.

“A good colt will cost between $1,500 and $2,000,” Calvin Kendall said. “A broke horse will run between $6,000 to $10,000.”

“A good saddle is $2,500,” said Cody Kendall. “My dad made the one I use.”

Cody Kendall also made his chaps.

“Good chaps go for $200,” Cody Kendall said. “Boots run around $400 and spurs are $200 for the better ones.”

Unlike other sports where the equipment can just stay in a storeroom, horses need a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

“We have to feed the horses additionally when we are working them,” said Caden Kendall. “In the winter we can get by on just grass and hay.”

Farrier (horse shoeing) costs can also add up.

“We have the farrier come out every six to eight weeks,” Calvin Kendall said. “It works out to about $400 a year per horse.”

Many might fear that the injury factor would be high for these working cowboys, but the boys parents say otherwise.

“They actually seem to get hurt more playing football,” Gina Kendall said. “Ty is a tight end at Erie and Sage is a linebacker and running back at Marmaton Valley.”

After finishing high school, the boys are considering doing more rodeo competition in college.

“I would like to consider Allen County Community College,” Swiler said.

“We’re looking at Allen County and Fort Scott Community College,” Cody Kendall said.

The spring rodeo JRRA season will begin in April, with the 2013 schedule awaiting posting for Kansas and Oklahoma.

For more information, go online to juniorranchrodeo association.webs.com/. £