ALVA, Okla. – Kade Chace may have enjoyed football, but rodeo always had his heart.
A 2020 graduate of Cherokee (Oklahoma) High School, Chace spent the first semester his freshman year at Sterling (Kansas) College preparing to play football. When COVID-19 disrupted the season, the lifelong cowboy realized he wanted to move closer to home and return to what he’d been missing.
He transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and it paid off quickly. Chace earned a share of the tie-down roping title this past weekend at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Rodeo in Weatherford.
“This was the first time I felt like I was getting back to things,” said Chace, the younger brother of Kelsie Chace, an eight-time WPRA world champion roper. “I drew some tough calves. I was confident that if I could get a good calf and make a solid run, it would turn out OK. I did that in the long round. Then I came back and made another solid run.”
He was 10.6 in the opening round, then followed with a 10.7-second run in the short round to share the aggregate title with Clint Graves of Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College.
“It was nice to split that title,” he said. “It just so happened to be at Southwestern, where my sister went to school. She had never won that rodeo, so it’s nice to have one over on her.”
Little brother took a nice jab at his older sister, who has quite the pedigree. But Kade looks up to Kelsie and takes advantage of all she can teach him.
“After I decided that I wanted to college rodeo, I went to her house for two weeks and practiced,” he said. “We took things real slow. She helped me out every day getting me back into it. She always texts before I make a run, and I always send her a video. She’s been real good about looking at the video and helping me to get better.”
Other Rangers earned points in Weatherford, including fellow tie-down roper Zane Thompson of Cheyenne, Wyoming, who was third in the first round. He was saddled with a no-time in the final round.
Bridger Anderson, the reigning college steer wrestling champion coming off his first NFR, held on to his No. 2 spot in the Central Plains Region’s standings with a solid finish. He placed in both rounds and finished third in the aggregate.
While bulldogger Beau Kelley of Artesia, New Mexico, scored big points by finishing second with a 5.2-second run in the first round, he wasn’t able to secure a time in the final round. Wacey Dorenkamp of Bristol, Colorado, made two solid runs, placing in the short round and finishing fourth overall.
Chace has had plenty of success through youth and high school rodeo, and his title at Southwestern boosted his confidence for intercollegiate rodeo.
“I knew I could compete at this level, but I just had to tell myself just to do every step,” he said. “Even if the run doesn’t seem perfect, just keep going. It wasn’t anything fancy. I just made good runs on the calves I had. The competition gets tough sometimes. The good thing about it is I get to watch all the runs, and I can learn something from each of them in the different things they do. It motivates me.”