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Meet the Member Dawson Gurule
story by Lindsay King
Dawson Gurule was first introduced to rodeo through its agricultural roots. He is an avid sheep showman, among other things, in his local 4-H club and judges pasture rangeland with his FFA chapter. Privy to a buddy’s chute dogging practice, Dawson got the idea he should try to wrestle at least one steer since he was there. “I ended up giving it a try and I liked it. And now here we are,” said the 14-year-old from Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico. This was two years ago, when Dawson was in the seventh grade.
His immediate family is not involved in rodeo, but a grandpa and cousin are. They were both excited Dawson wanted to get involved. “I started going to practice with Sam Griffin – the buddy that introduced me to the event – and our coach helped me get really good pretty quickly.” The last three rodeos of his seventh grade year in the NMJHSRA season, Dawson gave chute dogging a try in more than just the practice pen. The event stuck with him and he competed his entire eighth grade season.
Evidently, Dawson is both teachable and naturally talented at the event. He was named the champion bull dogger at the NMJHSRA state finals this year. “It was kind of a roller coaster ride overall. I got third in the first round, seventh in the second and I won the short round.” This is Dawson’s first trip to nationals and he is both nervous and excited for the adventure. “I am pretty nervous because this will probably be the hardest set of steers I have ever seen. I have competed on tough steers, but this is completely different.” Dawson knows the competition will be stiff, but feels his fellow NMJHSRA cowboys have prepared him for that. “I am anxious to see how good everyone is, but I am excited for the tip. My grandpa and a lot of my family are coming up to watch and I am looking forward to that.” Prior to taking on state finals, Dawson gave bareback steer riding a try just for fun.
Before starting rodeo, Dawson was involved in a number of different activities. The hardest part of learning his event wasn’t the technical stuff, it was the time it took and the dedication he needed to develop to practice every day. “Every once in a while, you get trampled or hooked by a horn, you feel the pain but you have to push through it. Overall, it will pay off in the end.” It certainly did for Dawson. With junior high almost in the rear view, he is focused on mastering steer wrestling while adding team roping to his skillset.
“I have been riding a lot lately, so I can get better on a horse and then I’ll start jumping off here soon to see if I enjoy it as much coming off a horse. It is a lot different event when you add the horse to it.” If he doesn’t stick with bull dogging, Dawson has some cousins that are looking for team roping partners. Dawson credits the Griffins – Trey, Kaley and Cleve – as well as Wyatt Lindsay for his accelerated progression in the chute dogging. “My parents (David and Jordanna) and my grandpa (Willard Hall) have been really supportive of everything I do. I know it hasn’t been easy for them to take me to practice just about every day, but they stuck with me through it all and helped me a lot.”
As Dawson prepares to enter his freshman year at Hot Springs High School, he reflects on what junior high rodeo taught him. “Being around people in rodeo has taught me about being a good person and having integrity. They have taught me the value of hard work and maintaining good character no matter the circumstances.”