story by Linsday Humphrey Making the decision to commit to rodeo as a high school sophomore has forever changed Rylan Wildeman’s life for the better. […]
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Meet the Member Robert Walter
story by Lindsay Humphrey
In his first, and subsequently final, year competing in the KHSRA, bareback rider Robert Walter is sitting in second place heading into the spring season. At 18 years old, he’s the youngest of the four Walter siblings – Ashley, 31, Jacob, 25, and Kimberlee, 28. Although everyone has rodeoed at some point or another, Robert is the only one who’s still hard at it. It was passed down from his late father, Rusty, and has been perpetuated by his mother, Kendra. “Right after my dad passed away, I had to play a bigger role on the ranch. My mom did a good job making sure I wasn’t carrying too much,” said the Hoehne High School senior.
The family has relocated to a smaller ranch near Trinidad, Colorado, which is right on the Kansas border. Before branching out to the KHSRA, Robert primarily rode bareback horses in Little Britches. “I knew quite a few people who rodeoed in Kansas because they came to the Little Britches rodeos. There are a lot more kids competing in the roughstock events in high school rodeo. I really like that.” Despite those KHSRA contacts from Little Britches, Robert still had quite a few names to learn behind the chutes. “I have a buddy that I can hop in with to haul to rodeos, but one of the main reasons I only do bareback in high school rodeo is so I don’t have to haul any animals.”
Not just a one trick pony, Robert is also an avid roper of both steers and calves in addition to playing sports at school. “I first started getting on steers when I was 13 and then horses the next year. I roped in Little Britches quite a bit. I still rope and I’m trying to make the Young Gun Series in Kansas through the winter in both calf and team roping.” Although Robert enjoys playing football and basketball, they pale in comparison to rodeo and ranching. Cutting his teeth on old ropes and saddle horns, Robert is quite the hand with colts of his own and of the outside variety.
“I really enjoy ranching and working young horses around cattle. That’s all I knew growing up, so I’ve kept it up. We had to sell most of the cattle when we moved, so I just go work for people on my younger horses.” Most of the colts Robert rides are his own, but he’s been known to sell one or two and ride outside horses as well. “Working with horses is one of my many hobbies. I really enjoy working with horses though. My dad taught me how to work with them mostly, but some extended family members have helped me out a lot also.”
Even though Robert isn’t set on a major yet, he knows he wants to study something related to agriculture in college and compete on a rodeo team. Always up for a new challenge, Robert appreciate the opportunities to change his thinking that rodeo presents. “It’s fun to test myself and see what kind of challenges I can overcome by trying to find a new way to do something. I also find a lot of inspiration in a lot of different ways.” One of those ebbing rivers of inspiration is the rodeo family Robert’s built over the years. “There’s always someone there to help lend a hand for whatever you might need to get better. And, of course, my own family has always been there for me to help keep me motivated and keep me going.”