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 Tyler Fish
story by Lindsay Humphrey
Both rodeo and life have thrown Tyler Kash Fish some curve balls early in life, but he’s made the best of each one and charged forward no matter the circumstances. He’s smack in the middle of eight other siblings – Krysta, 20, Addyson, 19, Kaylee, 17, Brennan, 13, Ava, 8, Hud, 7, Max, 6, and 4-year-old Huck. The recently turned 15-year-old from Harrah, Oklahoma, was raised on ranching and rodeo by his parents, Doug and Ashley, as well as his grandparents, Jerry and Donna Fish. Jerry’s been known to bring a string of horses to Tyler’s school, White Rock Public School, to pick up the Fish grandchildren. Horses are Tyler’s main partner for his three events in the OKJHSRA – team, breakaway and ribbon roping – but he started out behind the chutes at just 3 years old.
“My dad rode bulls professionally and so did my grandpa. It was my grandpa who taught me how to rope using a bucket and then my dad started me in mutton busting when I was really little. I did goat undecorating and dummy roping, but mutton busting was my first real rodeo event,” Tyler Kash said of his entry into the toughest sport on dirt. That was the event that Tyler won his very first buckle in. He was 4 years old at the time and also took home an all-around title in the Edmond Junior Rodeo Association. That’s been a favorite memory for Tyler Kash so far, but he’s confident there are plenty more of those in his future. After graduating from sheep to calves and later calves to steers, things took a turn for Tyler Kash.
“I got bucked off a steer and he stepped on me and broke two ribs on the left side, punctured a lung and shattered a kidney. I spent almost a whole summer in the hospital and then a very long time in rehab and therapy.” That accident cost Tyler Kash an entire year in school, mostly because it was in a pre-COVID world where virtual learning wasn’t nearly as accessible as it is now. “I had to quit riding steers because my family didn’t want me to. I still want to and I will once I graduate high school.” It was only about six months after Tyler’s steer accident that he got his fingers crushed in a log splitting accident. Several intense surgeries later and Tyler was lucky enough to keep all his fingers. He spent yet even more time in therapy which cost him another year of school. Now in his spring semester of seventh grade, Tyler’s part way through his rookie season with the OKJHSRA.
“It’s fun getting to do this with my grandparents; it’s a great way to spend more time with them. My grandpa keeps my horse shod and always makes sure I have cattle to practice on at his house. It’s my grandma who takes me to rodeos and usually my dad goes along too.” Keeping it all in the family, Tyler Kash heels for his cousin, Audrey Fish, and she’s also his runner in the ribbons. She was even the one who got Tyler Kash to join the OKJHSRA in the first place. “Our goal for the spring is to get back into the top four in the ribbons. I need to rope faster so I can catch closer to Audrey. I really like roping with my cousin in both events because I think she pushes me more than anyone else could.” The pair usually gets to rope together about three times a week.
While Tyler’s older siblings no longer rodeo, his younger ones are really getting into it. Ava is the only one horse back so far, but the other three are enjoying their time in the ground events. “I like having my siblings around to rodeo together. I like helping them and then having their support when I compete.”