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 Brody Thiessen
story by Lindsay King
Just like his brother Chance, Brody Thiessen has an affinity for calf roping. The 13 year old wanted to follow in his brother’s rodeo footsteps while he still had the chance. “He was born with cerebral palsy and has never really had use of his right side,” said Lindsey, Brody’s mom. An extensive agenda for physical therapy followed Brody for the first few years of life, but riding horses also became a part of that. “I started riding when I was little, it helps loosen up my muscles and build strength. I ran barrels and poles in junior rodeo. I liked how fast and exciting it was,” said the OKJHSRA cowboy. He also competed in the goat undecorating.
Brody knew he wanted to continue his rodeo career despite being limited to only one event – ribbon roping. “Our president Jeff Todd and Brody are buddies. He is always encouraging Brody to try to do everything. We figured ribbons was about the only thing he could do in rodeo. Everyone started on the hunt for a partner,” Lindsey said. Finding a girl to rope for the event was no small task, but Brody’s army of long-time rodeo family got it done. Helen Poer, an eighth-grade transfer from Texas, was an answered prayer. “She thought I was going to be a blessing to her but I am the one who is blessed,” Brody said.
Giving Usain Bolt a run for his money, Brody crosses the finish line, ribbon in hand, to stands full of cheering fans. That’s his therapy now, rodeo and simply being a kid. “The exercise is good for him. We try to encourage him to get out and ride as much as possible, it helps his balance and core strength. As long as he is active, that is pretty good therapy in itself,” Lindsey said. Brody’s parents encouraged him to do ribbon roping in junior high rodeo for the exercise and because it might be his last chance to compete. With a few good runs under their belt, Brody and Helen have a chance at placing in the top fifteen at state. Brody works hard each day to earn that gold buckle waiting for him at state finals.
That practicing comes with a couple of helping hands. “My mom makes me look good,” Brody joked. “My dad [Kent] and brother help me in the arena though. They saddle my horse for me and rope the calf so I can practice.” Both his dad and brother can be found behind the chutes when Brody is competing, usually yelling above the crowd. “The hardest part about ribbon roping is trying to get the ribbon. The calf is always moving and sometimes she will knock ya. I got clotheslined by the rope once. And then it was muddy on top of that. It was tough,” Brody said.
Like any true cowboy, most of Brody’s other interests pertain to the great outdoors. The avid hunter shot his first deer just last year and proudly displays it on the wall. But he also likes the finer things in life. “I like art, I might try and become an artist when I grow up. I take art at school and in the summer. I like to paint Elvis, he is my favorite singer. I am a big fan I guess you could say,” said the OKC Thunder fan. He plays basketball for Hamon Elementary and baseball in the summer time. Though making baskets and getting assists makes basketball his favorite of the two sports. He always comes back to rodeo, it’s what he’s grown up around. “I am just thankful for everything and glad that I get to rodeo, at least for a little while.”