DODGE CITY, Kan. – From kill pen to the main stage, Kyzer Stoddard has proven that his horses have a miraculous story to tell.
He and his six partners will get that opportunity at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2-Sunday, Aug. 6, at Roundup Arena.
“I bought my first trick horse, Sugar, out of a kill pen, and she still travels with me,” said Stoddard, 24, of Rexburg, Idaho. “My second one came out of a kill pen, too, and they’re the two that really started my bigger career.
“With those two, I trick rode and Roman rode.”
His act just kept climbing from there, and that’s why Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is bringing him to town for this year’s festivities. He will be an added piece of the entertainment pie that is Roundup, one of the most recognized events in ProRodeo.
“We’ve seen the things that Kyzer does, and it’s just incredible,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “He is a true horseman in every sense of the word, and he shows all the skills, whether it’s trick riding, Roman riding or his liberty horse act.”
What’s more spectacular is that Stoddard utilizes just six horses. Each of his animals can do all aspects of the show and all are part of the six-up Roman riding act that is highlighted by the team jumping an obstacle in the middle of the arena.
In addition, he doesn’t use the assistance of a ribbon that many trick riders use while performing the stunts on horseback.
“My favorite thing to do is jumping my six-up,” Stoddard said. “It’s something that very few people do. The old-timers used to do it, but they did it differently because they utilized a fence to keep their horses going in a straight line toward the jump.
“I jump my horses in the middle of the arena. It’s taken many hours of training to teach those horses to line up with the jump. That’s my greatest satisfaction, because it’s something nobody else has done.”
And it’s something fans have enjoyed. From Wild West shows to rodeos, Stoddard has showcased his talents and the talents of his team across the country. Now he brings that showcase to a ProRodeo Hall of Fame event.
“Working Dodge City means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s satisfying to talk to your friends in the specialty act world, and they’re excited for you because they know what kind of rodeo it is. I’m honored that the rodeo committee there believes in my act enough to bring me to town.”
He grew up in a rodeo family and competed in virtually every event growing up in Idaho. He was an all-around champion, but then he fell for the love of entertaining and training these specialized animals.
“It’s definitely a love for my horses and the training that keeps it all going,” Stoddard said. “It makes it all possible for me to spend time with my horses, train and do a job that I love. The best part is probably the time you spend with your horses and those huge gaining moments when you’ve been working on something tirelessly.
“When it comes together and when you get to a performance and make the crowd cheer, it’s a pat on the back being able to accomplish something like that.”
It’s a talent the Idaho man possesses, but the benefits fall on the fans who flock Roundup Arena. Watching well-trained horses do things they love is a joy.
“Most trainers say you need to pick one act for each horse to do,” Stoddard said. “I’ve really been lucky with those six horses, because they’ve been able to do it all.”