Meet the Member Caleb Delk

by Rodeo News

story by Lindsay Humphrey

At the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo, the trap shooting contest quite literally came down to the wire. NMHSRA member Caleb Delk went into his first national finals knowing it would be a tough competition, but evidently his preparation paid huge dividends. “When I looked back at the scores from last year’s national competition, the winner didn’t miss a single shot. The scores were tough and that made me a little nervous,” admitted the high school junior from Las Cruces, New Mexico. “I went out to nationals a couple days early to practice and get the feel for things. That helped me get more comfortable.” Caleb was in the third flight of shooters, and he missed one early on. He managed to regroup and finished the day hitting 99 of 100 targets.
“I finished my flight in first, but there were still more shooters to go. I ended up in a tie, so we had a shoot off.” Each shooter was moved four feet back from the regular line of competition and they had 10 birds to hit. Caleb didn’t miss any and it sealed the national title for him as his competition only hit 9. “When I joined the NMHSRA, I didn’t think I would have a chance at winning. I just wanted to go to more shoots and hang out with rodeo people.” Caleb quickly proved he was a force to be reckoned with as he consistently won the average at regular season rodeos and then won the event at the NMHSRA state finals. But it was in New Mexico 4-H that Caleb first found success as a competitive shooter.
“When I was 8, I joined 4-H and discovered they had shooting sports. From the start I’ve always liked shotgun more than anything else.” Now 16, Caleb has been shooting competitively both with 4-H and other organizations for the last four years. With lots of friends and family involved in the NMHSRA, it was almost eminent that Caleb would eventually join the association. “I’ve really enjoyed the people and the atmosphere. It’s a bunch of like-minded people and everyone is there to have a good time.” He’s also partial to being around and watching rodeos. Not one to sit on the sidelines, Caleb is hoping he’ll be ready to start entering the team roping later this season.
“My cousin, Weslynn Reno, lives just a few miles from me and she was actually reserve champion in the team roping at nationals this year. She has an extra horse that I am going to use for team roping and she helped me practice heading this summer.” Although Caleb’s been around horses and ranching his entire life, this will be his first time rodeoing competitively. He’s looking forward to roping at the end of the fall season and then all spring. As a high school junior at Mayfield High School, Caleb also keeps himself busy by serving as a chapter officer, judging forestry and livestock and showing his dairy heifers through FFA. But shooting is always at the forefront of his mind.
“Shooting can be really hard to grasp. Lots of people use a shotgun and love it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it comes naturally to them. You really need to have some natural ability to be a good shooter because you’re aiming at a moving target.” Although soft skills and natural ability are the foundation of any good shooter, it’s the mental game that pushed Caleb to the national level. “When I shot at nationals, I hit 99 out of 100. I missed on the third bird out. I just regrouped and didn’t miss from there. Once you get to where you know you can hit the targets and have the ability, it becomes a mental game. That’s been the biggest struggle for me. This has probably been my best year mentally for not getting upset or distracted while I’m trying to shoot.”

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

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