story by Mackie Ford I caught up with Haze Kuykendall, an Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association member and son of Justin and Mandie Kuykendall, […]
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Meet the Member Levi Sechrist
story by Lindsay King
Passed down from father to son, 15-year-old Levi Sechrist is a tie-down roper just like his dad, Jeramy. “I am in the tie-down roping, ribbon roping, chute dogging and the goat tying. My favorite is tie-down roping because I like to rope more than I like to do other stuff.” Jeramy has taught Levi everything he knows, teaching him how to rope when he was five. “I have been riding ever since I can remember.” Levi entered his first rodeo at only six years old on New Years day in breakaway roping. “My dad has been my role model in rodeo, he is always the person that I watch and he helps me with my roping. He tells me what I am doing wrong and how to fix it.” Jeramy coaches Levi at rodeos by helping him read the barrier and calves, sometimes he will also help set him up in the box.
Every other weekend you will find Levi and his family on the road bound for a rodeo. “I like to rope but I also have good friends I like to see when we go to rodeos.” Levi’s favorite rodeo was nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2014 where he ended up 15th in the nation in breakaway roping. Levi made another trip to nationals this year in the ribbon roping ending up 7th. He has also made two trips, in 2014 and 2015, to the Roy Cooper’s Jr Invitational in Las Vegas, placing third both days on his first trip and fifth the second day of his second trip. “It was really neat because it was during the NFR. There was really good competition, it kind of felt like I was at my own NFR.”
Levi’s parents own Veterinarian Enterprises of Tomorrow, a compounding pharmacy exclusively for veterinarians, where his mom, Jennifer, works as the pharmacist and his dad is the sales representative. They also run 120 cow/calf pairs at home. “During the summer I help my dad with that cattle, mow a few lawns and practice my roping.” He rides both Terminator, a sorrel 16-year-old gelding, and Fireball, a bay 11-year-old gelding, for calf roping. Fireball is also his goat-tying horse.
“I would like to rodeo in college if I can and make it to the national finals for a couple of years.” He is thinking about becoming an orthodontist when he grows up. Levi and his 13-year-old brother Landen practice together everyday after they get home from Mountain View Junior High School where Levi will be a freshman next year. He also has a seven-year-old sister named Landrie.
A natural athlete, Levi’s favorite class to attend is gym because he likes sports. He is a receiver in football and a point guard in basketball. “I have played basketball since the third grade and football since the fourth grade. I like football more but rodeo is still my favorite.” If Levi could be talented at something other than rodeo, he would pick football. “My favorite time of year to rodeo is during the spring because the weather is warming up and I don’t have sports practice.” Levi likes to spend his free time with his cousins, most of whom live no more than an hour away. When they get together they will play football, ride or even go down to swim in the creek or fish for bass. Levi is proud of how close his family is and the amount of time they spend together.
The highly competitive nature of OKJHSRA is one of Levi’s favorite aspects of the association, it has helped prepare him for nationals. “A lot of my friends are in it so they are fun to go to. The Boarder Bash is neat because you get to meet people from other states and see what the competition in other states is like.”