story by Lindsay King Third generation rodeo competitor 13-year-old Libby Berger from Udall, Kansas, has a need for speed. “Barrels or breakaway roping is my […]
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Meet the Member Marley Berger
story by Kyle Eustice
At just 15-years-old, Udall, Kan. native Marley Berger is off to a prodigious start with his rodeo career. His whole family has either rode horses or rodeoed, so it was only a matter of time before Marley was in the saddle. His great uncle, Bobby Berger, went to the NFR in saddle bronc, bull riding and bareback riding, winning a few gold buckles. Rodeo was engrained in Marley’s DNA.
“The first time I got on a horse I was in my dad’s backpack when I was still a baby,” explained Marley. “I started riding by myself when I was around two or three-years-old.”
Born to Monte and Kristy Berger in 2001, Marley is one of two children. His younger sister Libby, 12, is following in her big brother’s footsteps, and currently running barrels, team roping and breakaway roping.
Marley was five-years-old the first time he team roped and four years later, he was roping calves. In 2009, he entered a OKYRA event where he got his first taste of competition. In 2014, he won the all around OKYRA Winter Series, which solidified his passion for the sport.
“It made me feel really good at that time,” explained Marley. “I hadn’t been roping very long and was finally getting decent at it. Winning made me want to work harder and win some more.”
Between Marley and his sister, the Bergers now have four cases full of buckles in their home. Needless to say, his parents are extremely proud of their ambitious children.
“My future goal is to keep going and do the best I can,” said Marley. “Hopefully, I’ll make it to the NFR one day. Once you reach the NFR, it’s like you’re at the top of the game and you’ve beat some of the best of the world. You’ve accomplished something.”
At CPRA events, Marley strictly calf ropes and enjoys all the competition, especially because it gives him the opportunity to learn from his elders.
“I like roping against older guys,” said Marley. “They help me get better. They’re good competition.”
When Marley isn’t competing or practicing for his next event, the sophomore student is home schooled by Andover eCademy, where his favorite subjects are geography and world history. He loves fishing and hunting; he usually fishes for bass or catfish and hunts deer, turkey, birds, and pheasants. The Bergers have two dogs, Rosco and Daisy, and eight horses. Both Berger children are responsible for their upkeep and clearly don’t mind the hard work.
While Marley continues on his virtuous path, he has his eyes set on a promising future. He routinely attends Prairie Trails Cowboy Church with his family, which he says is unconventional compared to traditional churches, but leaves him feeling complete.
“There’s a lot of cowboys in there,” explained Marley. “They go about it in a different way and the way they preach is different. They relate the sermons to the rodeo world and ranching world. It’s inspiring.”