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 Pake Bell
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Pake Bell was 3 years old when he first roped one down, but it wasn’t of the bovine variety. “I roped a cat and he didn’t like it very well,” said the 15-year-old with a chuckle. As Pake got older, he stuck with roping cattle but left the cat out of it. “My two favorite events are tie down and team roping. I probably like team roping a little bit better now.” It’s only fitting that Pake is also an avid ribbon roper in the OKJHSRA. The tall, slender soon-to-be high school freshman said, “calf roping can be tough simply because the calves usually outweigh us.”
Riding a former reining horse, Gunna Joy (by Gunnatrashya and out of Zanas Center Stage), might also be a reason why Pake enjoys heeling the most. “The biggest thing with her (Joy, his team roping mare) is that she’s so broke I can guide her wherever I want to. She’s real easy to collect through the corner and pretty cowy.” Pake’s mom, Kristin, showed Joy at the NRHA Futurity before she was transitioned to the broodmare band. Spence, Pake’s dad, started heeling on her before Pake used her in HOYRA rodeos. “I mostly started riding Joy after her derby years. We were done showing her at that point.” That doesn’t stop Pake from showing her in the boxing at the AQHyA world show or taking her down the fence for fun on occasion. “I’ve always wanted to try cutting and cow horse. I have a yearling that I will start next year for that stuff.”
Over the spring and summer months Pake is usually busy helping his dad with embryo transfers and watching the mares in the breeding program on their ranch in Maysville, Oklahoma. “It gets pretty hectic around here in the spring and summer with all of that. Summer is a good time for a break, but I still go to jackpots when I have time off on the weekends.” Through quarantine this spring even jackpots were hard to come by, but OKJHSRA events were few and far between. “Quarantine was kind of frustrating because a lot of junior high rodeos were canceled. We didn’t get to rodeo a whole lot to make up ground if we were behind.” Luckily, Pake and his header, JT Hollingback, didn’t have a lot of ground to cover when they got to rodeo in Thomas, Oklahoma, just before the OKJHSRA finals.
“JT and I won the first day and then he broke out and I roped a leg the second day to pull us out of it. We drew a steer that I needed to stay back quite a bit and that’s why I roped a leg.” This didn’t prevent the pair from placing well enough to make nationals, if they were still happening. They placed fourth in the team roping in their last OKJHSRA finals. “I had a long run in the calf roping the first day and then my second calf got up on me, that was disappointing. It’s so tough in the junior highs. There are so many kids that know how to get out and reach and then can tie fast.”
Of course, Pake has a whole support system behind him that helped him take third in the state in the calf roping. Not only are his parents hootin’ and hollerin’ from the chutes, so are both of his sisters: Lydia, 17, and Kinley, 10. “Since I was little my dad has helped me with my roping. And my parents have hauled me lots of places, that’s a big deal because they are taking time out of their day to do that.” More than just supplying horses for Pake to rodeo on, they also let him keep a herd of goats at the house. “I like to practice roping the goats with a kid’s rope. There’s just a ton of ways my parents have helped me get here.” If Pake named everyone who’s helped him, he’d run out of daylight, but here are just a few: Travis Walters, Robbie Boyce, Trigg Bell, Dale Bennett, and Zane Bruce.