story by Lindsay Humphrey “I’m not much of a planner,” said Ryan Bestol of his storied rodeo career so far. “When I get something in […]
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Meet the Member Kingston Chang
story by Lily Weinacht
Rodeo called Kingston Chang from his home in Hawaii to the landlocked state of Kansas, a paradise in itself for the team roper who competes in the NSRA, KPRA, PRCA, USTRC, and World Series of Team Roping.
“I was born and raised in Hawaii, and my dad, Fred Chang, Jr., was a roper. He had me competing in lead-line events since before I can even remember,” says Kingston, 28. “We did a lot of ranch work for friends, and we also ran a boarding facility, so I cleaned stalls and rode colts to make extra money to rope.” He roped his first steer from horseback when he was 11, going on to junior rodeo, and later entering high school rodeos in the team roping and tie-down roping. Kingston qualified twice for the NHSFR in Gillette, Wyo., in the team roping, going down a week early to test ride several rope horses for lease.
After graduating high school, Kingston competed in state finals and immediately booked his ticket to Kansas, where one of his uncles had moved years several years earlier. He rodeoed with Dodge City Community College (DCCC) in the team roping before transferring to Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) in Alva, Okla., and he’s been the assistant rodeo coach for DCCC for the past three years. “I made nationals one year in the tie-down roping, but it just wasn’t my forte,” says Kingston. “I enjoy team roping for the sheer fact that there’s a lot of events to go to, and I’ve been passionate about it from day one. It’s tricky – there a lot of brains working together in one run – and I always like the challenge. And there have been so many people who have helped me out with the different parts of roping.”
Primarily a heeler, Kingston has been entering NSRA rodeos for several years during the Fourth of July run, but decided to buy his card with the association and make a run at the finals. “I bounce around with partners in the NSRA – I’ve even roped with three different people in one weekend – but I have the same partner, Troy Boon from Oklahoma, in the PRCA. I bought my permit last year, so this is my second year circuit rodeoing. I’m gone every weekend from Guymon’s pro rodeo to the end of September.”
Kingston rodeos full time through the summer, then works on a ranch west of Dodge City during rodeo’s off season. After college, he also spent a year working on champion team roper Tyler Magnus’s ranch in Texas. “When the rodeoing is slow, I work seven days a week calving out heifers and cows, and as soon as they ship out, I start rodeoing again. It’s a perfect job for me.” During the summer, Kingston also trains rope horses on the side. “They’re usually my personal horses that I use on the ranch, and then I’ll get them roping and I’ll sell them. The horse I currently compete on is a nine-year-old dun I call Disco. When I bought him, he had 30 days of riding on him, and I sent him to a feedyard for another 30 days before starting him on the roping machine. I took Disco to a horse sale and ended up buying him back last year – he’s my go-to horse now.”
Much of Kingston’s down time is dedicated to roping practice, which he does at friends’ arenas in the area. He also enjoys fishing and hunting coyotes. “Anything that’s ranch work or the western way of life is what I like,” he adds. “I’m pretty outdoorsy – I don’t follow baseball or basketball or any of those sports. It’s strictly rodeo for me! I’d really love to make the Prairie Circuit Finals and the Dodge Ram National Circuit Finals someday, and I’d also love to win the team roping in both the KPRA and NSRA.”