ALVA, Okla. – Kade Chace is a tie-down roper at heart, but he’s expanding his horizons.
In recent months, his friends at Northwestern Oklahoma State University have talked Chace into trying his hand at steer wrestling, and he’s taken to it rather well. This past weekend at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford, the cowboy picked up points in both events to lead the way for the Rangers rodeo team.
“I like that rodeo, because there are a lot of people that come out and support it,” said Chace, a Northwestern junior from Cherokee, Oklahoma. “I haven’t had much luck (this year), so I told myself to go out there and rope one and see what happens. I did my job in the Friday performance.”
He roped and tied his first-round calf in 10.7 seconds to finish fourth in the long round.
He actually competed in both events Friday night and knocked his steer down in 4.9 seconds to finish in a three-way tie for third place in the opening round with teammates Jeremy Plourde of Carleton, Michigan, and Tevin Cowan of Harrold, South Dakota.
“I also made a good bulldogging run in the long round,” Chace said. “I haven’t been doing it very long. It was good to get that feeling. I had a lot of support from my rodeo team.”
There are a bunch of great bulldoggers at Northwestern, with six of the top seven steer wrestlers in the Central Plains Region being Rangers. They’ve all given a hand to the newcomer, with Hawaiian Trisyn Kalawaia offering the use of his bulldogging horse.
In Saturday’s championship round, Chace didn’t secure his steer and was saddled with a no-time, but he excelled in tie-down roping. He stopped the clock in 10.5 seconds to finish third in the short round, and his two-run cumulative time of 21.2 seconds was good enough for third overall.
“I drew a great calf in that calf roping, and I just wanted to do my job,” he said. “I roped him and tied him down, and my horse worked great. I didn’t have much luck in the bulldogging, but I had a great horse. Trisyn let me ride one of his bulldogging horses, and I can’t thank that guy enough.”
There are two rodeos remaining in the Central Plains season, with the teams traveling to Hays, Kansas, this next weekend and to Guymon, Oklahoma, the final weekend of April. Chace is hoping to continue his hot streak and jump into the top three in the regional tie-down roping standings by season’s end and secure his spot at the College National Finals Rodeo.
“I think if I can continue to do what I did in Weatherford, I could sneak in there,” he said. “My plan is to do my job and let it all play out from there. If I do my job and my horse does his job, I really like my chances.”
His horse is Romeo, a sorrel gelding that he acquired from his WPRA world champion sister, Kelsie Domer.
“She didn’t really get along with him, so I told her to let me have him so I could see if I could get them to like each other,” Chace said. “I had him for a couple of years; he worked great for me, so I just bought him. He’s easy to ride, and he does the same thing every time so I only have to worry about myself.”
Fellow Northwestern tie-down roper Denton Oestman of Auburn, Nebraska, added to his regional lead by finishing second in the long round in Weatherford, while the team roping tandem of Camden Hoelting of Olpe, Kansas, and Austin Lampe of Dodge City, Kansas, finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the opening round. None of those Rangers had much luck after that.
In bulldogging, Wyatt Fields of Silsbee, Texas, led the way for Northwestern by winning the championship round and finishing third overall. Both Chace and Plourde failed to place after their first-round runs, but Cowan was 6.1 in the short round to finish sixth overall. Barrel racer Samantha Chambers of Calhan, Colorado, finished sixth in the short round and sixth overall.
With just two rodeos left on the campaign, it’s down to crunch time for all the Rangers. Chace can do wonders if he can continue to score points in multiple events. After years of being pestered to try his hand at steer wrestling, he likes how he has been transformed.
“It was a good feeling to get points in both events,” Chace said. “I had a lot of family there watching and supporting me. It felt good with all that practice and to see all those guys do it. I had a bunch of other team members cheering for me, so it was a lot of fun.”