story by Ruth Nicolaus For Phoenix Brown, time is of the essence on school mornings. The fourteen-year-old cowgirl, a member of the Nebraska Junior High […]
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Meet the Member Tate Talkington
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Nebraska is home to the 2019 National Junior High School Rodeo boys goat tying champion. Tate Talkington, Scottsbluff, brought home the title after winning at Nationals with a time of 27.46 seconds on three head.
In junior high rodeo, the fifteen-year-old cowboy competed in the chute dogging, tie-down roping, team roping (heeling for Jace Hurlburt), ribbon roping (roping for Jace), and goat tying, but goat tying was his strength.
He rode a horse that was an unlikely candidate for the event.
Last winter, his horse got injured, so Tate was without a mount.
The family’s good friends, Shelby and Libby Winchell, who also help Tate with goat tying, offered one of their horses. Tate could come over and choose one of their three goat tying horses.
The one he chose wasn’t, in the opinion of an expert, the best choice.
Tate chose Hardy, an eight-year-old bay mare who had been given to Libby as a gift when she was in seventh grade. Libby had had serious health issues that kept her from riding, so a friend had gifted the horse to her to train, a “project” to keep her mind busy.
Hardy was Tate’s first choice. “Right away, he got on her,” his mom Brooks said, “and said, ‘she feels good so I’m going to use her.’” Libby schooled Tate in horsemanship and different cues to use to ride the bay, who is “a lot of horse,” Brooks said.
Brooks recalls the first time, in the practice pen, that Tate tied goats on Hardy. Libby told Tate for this run, he would dismount and tie the goat. As he made his run, he swung a leg off of her, and swung it right back up. He told Libby, “You mean I have to get off her when she’s going that fast?” But he learned how. “They were pretty unstoppable, those two,” Brooks said.
Tate is at the end of his junior high career; in school at Scottsbluff High School, he played basketball, was in the National Junior High School Honor Society and a member of FCA. He’s also involved in 4-H and has shown goats and pigs.
He enjoys watching Duke basketball and Nebraska football, and at the top of his list of favorite foods his mom makes is shepherd’s pie and ribs. He loves orange sherbet, Arnold Palmers, and Sour Patch kids.
One of the funnest trips Tate has taken was to the National Junior High Finals in Tennessee, because his team roping partner and good friend Trace Travnicek was along.
Tate has qualified for Nationals each of the past three years. When he grows up, he’d like to be a horse chiropractor and rope professionally. He has an older sister, Brayden, who lives in Tennessee.
He is the son of Brooks and Shane Talkington, and the family considers the Winchells, including Mike and Shawna, “like family to us,” Brooks said.