story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
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Meet the Member Chase Stricklin
story by Lily Weinacht
Chase Stricklin of Rock River, Wyoming, is the first in his family to travel the rodeo trail. The 17-year-old started out on the roughstock side of the arena when he was 8 after watching a cousin compete, but switched exclusively to steer wrestling after several bull riding accidents sidelined him in 2017. He’s currently sitting second in the WHSRA standings and working hard to keep himself in the top four. “My goal every year is to make the National High School Finals, and I’ve never made it in high school yet, but I made it two times in junior high,” says Chase. His seventh-grade year, he qualified for the NJHFR in bull riding, and his eighth-grade year, he went in the bull riding, chute dogging, and bareback steer riding.
Although he’s moved on from the thrill of the bucking chutes, Chase finds steer wrestling just as adrenaline pumping. “It’s really fun and fast paced, and I get to work with my horse. I started with the chute dogging and got drug around quite a bit doing that,” he recalls with a laugh. “Then I started getting better and got on to my horse and went from there. There’s been quite a few steer wrestlers that helped me. The first was Ryan Huxtable, and he helped me in junior high with the chute dogging. After that I went to Nebraska a few times to Bill Manning, and after that I went to a couple of Tom Carney’s schools for the Steer Wrestling 101.” Chase’s dad, Rick Stricklin, rides horses and hauls Chase to all his rodeos, and Chase’s mom, Mysty Stricklin, comes to as many rodeos as she can. “My dad’s always there for me and encouraging me and helping coach. My bull riding coach when I rode was Jed Moore, and he really helped me a lot.”
Also part of Chase’s rodeo team is his hazer at the high school rodeos, Travis Anderson, and Chase’s horse, Cowboy, a 17-year-old gelding he found in Nebraska during one of the steer wrestling schools. “I got to practice on him, and he and I worked the best together of all the other horses we were looking at,” says Chase. “He’s a red roan, and I’ve been steer wrestling on him for two years now, and he’s been working quite well. I have one other horse I’ve been working with. She’s not completely broke, but steer wrestling is ultimately what I want to do with her.”
Once a week, Chase goes to the University of Wyoming in Laramie to practice with rodeo coach Beau Clark and the college rodeo team. He’s also finishing his senior year at Rock River School, where he’s taking English, along with business and several guitar and agriculture classes. “I’m going to start building a grill guard for my truck, and I’ve built boxes and shelves,” says Chase, who also played football for three years. He started playing guitar three years ago, and particularly enjoys playing country music. “I do lots of fishing and working on vehicles, and hanging out with family.
“After I finish school, I’m planning on going to fight fires. The first year, I’ll probably be doing it through the department in Rock River, and then I might try to get on with the Forest Service. I’ve wanted to do that since I was tiny—my dad is a fire chief here in Rock River,” Chase finishes. “I’m hoping to keep doing some rodeo events around that are local or a couple of states away. I’d also like to win a few more (high school) rodeos and go to Nationals.”