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Meet the Member: Connor McNennyMeet the Member
story by Lily Weinacht
Connor McNenny has been competing in the SDHSRA since he was a freshman. The high school senior is now looking to take the skills he’s learned from high school competition and test the waters of college rodeo. But for now, the 18-year-old is making the most of his final year in the association.
Connor competes in steer wrestling, tie-down roping, and team roping as a header. Team roping is his favorite event, and he is striving to be as accomplished as his dad, Lynn McNenny. Lynn was a professional team roper, and he still ropes today in the SDRA. He is always glad to step out to the arena and coach Connor. “I want to be the best,” says Connor. “My main goal is to make it to the College National Finals, and the more you practice, you get better every day.”
Living on a ranch with nearly 300 head of cattle provides Connor with plenty of opportunities to rope and cowboy. “I live thirty miles east of Sturgis, right along the Belle Fourche River,” says Connor. “You go about 20 yards and you’re in the river. My great grandfather settled there, and the ranch has been in the family for a long time.” Connor’s parents, Lynn and D.D. McNenny run the family ranch with the help of Connor and his brother, Daine. Daine, 23, will be a senior at Pratt Community College in Kansas this fall, where he has been attending on a full-ride scholarship. Daine and Connor also have two older sisters, Kalyn and M’Kenzie, who are both married.
In addition to cattle and a dog named Saydee, Connor has several horses. Chester is his steer wrestling horse, and he uses Rugar for tie-down roping. Connor has a number of heading horses, but his main two are Padlock, and Rio, who will take over once Padlock retires. “I’m roping every day that I don’t have to work and if it’s not too windy to swing a rope,” Connor explains. He bought his PRCA permit last fall and needs $400 more to fill it. He and Daine team rope together in the SDRA and they have also been roping on the Badlands Circuit.
Connor graduated from Sturgis Brown High School this spring and will be attending Pratt Community College (PCC) on a full-ride scholarship. He plans to study to be an electrician, as well as college rodeo in all three of his events. He and Daine will have one year to rope together on the PCC rodeo team. Before he embarks into college, however, Connor plans to rodeo, spend time with friends, and work his part time job at Lynn’s Dakotamart in Sturgis as a cashier. “We go fishing and catch catfish,” Connor says of another favorite hobby. “We float down the river a lot. Usually I’ll practice in the morning, and when it gets hot I’ll go for a swim.”
Connor competed in the NHSFR in 2012, team roping with his partner and best friend Jade Schmidt. In 2013, the pair won the team roping at the Sturgis Regional Rodeo. Now Connor is setting his sights on the College National Finals Rodeo. “My brother never made it, so I hope that I’ll be the first header (in my family) to make it.” Connor also hopes to pro rodeo full time, and following that, to be one of the next ranchers on his family’s property. Looking ahead to his future dreams and opportunities, in closing Connor says, “I’d like to thank my family for all of the opportunities they’ve given me.”