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 Carson New
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Like most little boys, Carson New wanted to slide his hand into a bull rope. His mom – Jennifer – decided that wasn’t going to fly. “My dad (Kelly) rodeoed when he was younger, so he slowly got me into it with breakaway and team roping,” said the 14-year-old from Fletcher, Oklahoma. “When I decided I didn’t like those events I was 11 and I quit rodeo for about a year.” It was the very next year that Carson decided he wanted to ride saddlebronc steers. “When I started that it just seemed really fun. Everyone told me I had a natural talent for it and that I just had to work at it.” And work at it Carson has. He’s added bareback steer riding and chute dogging to the lineup since he started competing in the OKJHSRA two years ago.
Of his three events, Carson’s favorite is a toss up between chute dogging and saddlebronc riding. But when he has to choose, it’s the later that wins out. “I think I’ll stick with saddlebronc longer. It’s a whole lot of action and you can really learn a lot from it. I like getting in time with the steer and feeling him tug on the rein; it’s fun because you never know what you’re going to get.” One of Carson’s proudest moments was when he covered his very first saddlebronc steer. That was during his first season with the OKJHSRA. “I was so happy that day. I was excited that I actually covered my steer, but I also made it to nationals. I had accomplished a goal that I set for myself.”
Heading into the final rodeos of the spring season, Carson was leading in all three of his events. And he had a good grasp on third place in the tough all-around race. Although Carson isn’t an experienced eighth grader by any means, that doesn’t stop him from being an accomplished chute dogger. “You don’t have to super strong to chute dog, you just need to use the right technique and then you can really throw a steer down. Blake Mindeman taught me everything I know about it.” It was just last summer that Carson started learning the big man’s event from Blake so he could give it a try in his final OKJHSRA season. “I started on a dummy so I could slide my feet and figure out where I needed to be on the steer. Then we did smaller, live steers.” Once Carson was comfortable on the small steers, Blake loaded up the team roping steers. “At first, I did not know anything about chute dogging at all. I went in there with the mindset that I could do it and just hoping it would come out okay.”
Backed up parents who are both supportive and motivational, Carson rarely misses a day of practice even when he’d rather do just about anything else. “My mom always gets onto me when I don’t practice. She’s the one who keeps me going and getting on. She tells me that I can really do it and I know I can because of her.” Carson’s dad is the one who helps him during practice. Sometimes that means helping Carson get on his spur board and other days it’s letting him ride his pickup horse. “It’s really nice to have a family like that who help me so much. It makes rodeo more fun for me.” Carson’s dad hauls stock for a contractor for some of the local amateur rodeos. That’s captured Carson’s 8-year-old brother’s attention. “Gunner decided he wanted to do that instead of competing. He goes with my dad most of the time.”