Meet the Member Owen Wahlert

by Rodeo News

story by Siri Stevens

Owen Wahlert just started football practice at Pawnee High School this week. School started August 18 and practice is every day after school from 4-6. He plays quarterback and defensive end. “We have to play both sides of the ball since our school is so small,” said the 17 year old from Grover, Colo. ‘’We only have 85 kids K-12, and 11 kids on the football team. There are only 25 kids in high school.” He likes the small town and country living. “I like living in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I could take the city, real close to everybody. I like when you can look out from your house and not see a neighbor.”
Owen started his rodeo career tying goats, pole bending, and barrel racing in the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association when he was five. “I thought it was pretty cool back then, but that was a long time ago.” Now he competes in tie down and team roping. “I like tie down better,” he said. “The first time I did it was when I went to Brent Lewis’s school when I was ten.  After the first day, I knew that is what I wanted to do, so I have worked at it.”
Owen made it to the National High School Finals in the tie down roping, finishing his year with the Wyoming State High School Rodeo Association as the reserve state champion – for the second year in a row.  He made the short round at Nationals, and his short round calf got up. “I was going for it,” he said. “I went there to be a national champion – I left everything on the table with no regrets.” Being Reserve Champion at the state level has left Owen wanting the championship even more.  “Both years I went in winning it, and both years it was something … It’s disappointing, but it’s something that gives you the drive to try harder when you’ve got one more chance.”
Between rodeos this summer, Owen has been working alongside his father, Jeff, on the ranch. “We have some yearlings and take care of our neighbor’s cattle and when we aren’t doing that, we are fencing.”
His older brother, Ross (22), and his wife, Josi, live in Lusk, Wyoming, where he is managing a ranch. Owen is going to be an uncle this month, and is still getting used to the idea. He does like having the house to himself, especially his bedroom. “The night after he got married, I took over his bedroom, and I like it a lot.”
Owen is heading into his last year of high school and is hoping the football team takes the state championship. “Last year, we made it to the state playoffs and ended up in the top eight, losing to Eads, and they won state.” Right after he gets home from practice, his dad and mom (Tanya) are ready to head down to the arena with him to practice. “Dad will have horses saddled and we’ll rope one or the other event, and mom will untie calves or load steers.  After I rope, and I am done eating about 9, I do homework and go to bed.”
He hasn’t decided on which college he will go to – he is considering heading to Texas, but is also looking at Casper. “I want to study Elementary Education – I like little kids and like teaching them – they are care free and it would give me my summers off to rodeo … I’m sure at some time I’ll be ranching – I enjoy that a lot too. There are a lot of little things that go along with ranching – riding  some outside horses, checking cattle, and when things to good or bad, seeing how I can fix them and make them better.”
For now, his goal is the state championship in tie down roping and he knows he can’t do any of it without the help of family and friends. “I thank my parents, family, and all the coaches, that have opened chutes and helped me. They are always willing to practice whenever I want to.”

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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