By Lindsay Whelchel For 11-year-old Tucker Kelsey of Henryetta, Okla., competing in the Northeast Junior Rodeo Association is a path he was probably always destined […]
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Meet the Member Dalton Grussendorf
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Dalton Grussendorf, 17, has learned that when you do something, you aim for being the best you possibly can.
“I’m not one of those people who like to go for 2nd or 3rd [place]. Dalton says. And though he adds jokingly that if you’re not first, you’re last, his point is clear. He’s in it to win it.
“If someone tells me to win second or third you’ve got to be eight or nine [seconds], just make a clean run, or to be first you’ve got to be four or five, I’m going to go for first,” he says and adds, “you know your roping ability, you know what you can do, so you might as well go out there and try to win.”
Dalton has been roping since he was a kid. He’s been a member of the Northeast Junior Rodeo Association since he was 13 and has competed in every event from heading and heeling in team roping, tie down, ribbon and breakaway roping, and even tried his hand at ranch bronc riding before deciding he’d stick to riding horses who weren’t trying to unseat him. Dalton did junior high school rodeo making it to the finals in Gallup, N.M., and one year of high school rodeo, but these days, outside of his years with NJRA, mostly ropes at open rodeos and jackpots as a team roper. He’ll soon be venturing into more rodeo associations like the American Cowboys Rodeo Association, as he gets older. Dalton is an only child. His dad is Dalewayne, and his mom is Pam Grussendorf. Pam used to barrel race before starting a family, and Dalton credits his dad with teaching him how to rope.
Dalton gained valuable experience and skill out of some adversity over the years. His best horse was always getting hurt as he has competed, so Dalton found he had to borrow horses regularly. “I’ve had to learn how to ride a bunch of different horses just to go rope. I’d have to borrow a horse I’d never really rode before, and if I had to borrow horses, I had to make sure I did good on them,” he says.
Dalton, who is a junior at Collinsville High School in Oklahoma, has career aspirations of being a firefighter one day. He’s also taking tech classes in EMT training to prepare. “I like helping people,” he says of being a firefighter. Another plus to the career is the work schedule that would allow him to work multi-day shifts and then go rope on his off days.
Right now though, Dalton is still enjoying being a teen, spending time playing basketball with his friends and being known as the guy who will try any challenge. “Pretty much everything you’re going to do in life, you can’t just go out there and wing it. You’re going to have to try. If you’re going to go do something why not be the best,” he says of his motto. And no matter what he does, Dalton is sure to keep his rope, and his winning attitude, handy.