Since he was six years old, Tate Talkington from Scottsbluff was interested in rodeo. Looking up to his father Shane, he participated in junior rodeos while growing up. Tate said for the Star-Herald that his father was his idol, he wanted to be the same as him on the horse and he that he wishes to go to the same college. His mother, Brooks, says that Tate has always had a rope in his hands.
This young man is continuing his family tradition since his father was also competing in rodeo while growing up. Shane competed in steer wrestling, team roping, and calf roping in high school. Now, Tate will compete in team roping and calf roping.
For months, Tate had trained a few hours every day to get ready for the world stage. During his spring training, the horse he practised goat tying with was hurt, so he had to replace him. This is where the Winchell family stepped in. Shawna and Mike Winchell, with their daughter Libby, let Tate use Hardy, Libby’s horse, while training.
For the past three years, the Winchells worked on the goat tying basis with Tate. Their motto is “smooth is fast.” Tate’s mother said that part of her son’s success could be attributed to how extraordinary Hardy was and the effort Libby put in his training.
With Hardy, Tate competed in three rodeos before the nationals came. In 2018, during the nationals, he achieved the 2nd fastest time, and he is hoping the situation will be similar this year. The thing that helped Tate stay focused when he finished the state finals in the top four this May were his family and friends by his side. He said that Libby’s and Shelby’s presence helped him calm and stay confident.
Entering the World Rodeo Stage
As he entered the World Championship that took place in Huron in South Dakota, Tate found himself competing with the best contestants from Mexico, Australia, Canada and of course, America.
The first thing he noticed was the huge crowd. He stated he was so excited to finally take part in that rank. The Championship lasted ten days, and the top 10 of each event received a buckle. The fastest three won several prizes, one of which was scholarship money.
During the competition, Tate had only 15 minutes between the ribbon roping and goat tying contest to get the other horse and come to the arena nearby. He finished ribbon roping as the 9th best contestant in the world and goat tying, well, the world champion.
When this competition started, around 125 teenage contestants started getting off their horses, trying to tie together three of the goat’s legs in the fastest time possible. The goat needed to stay this way for six seconds. Tate was the fastest in this round. However, he went last in the short round. He entered the short round with a lead of 2.5 seconds.
Sitting on Hardy’s back, Tate felt his energy. For him, it seemed like the horse could feel that the stakes are higher. As he said, the crowd and the announcer pumped her up, and he saw she would go fast. So when she dashed out towards the goat, Tate made a running step off and applied what he had learned while working with Winchells.
His mother stated that he did well under pressure, and that turned out to be correct. In the first round, his time was 8.65 and 8.26 in the second. Once he heard what his time was, he ran out of the arena to Shane’s, Libby’s, and Shelby’s embrace. He became a champion.
Tate’s parents weren’t fully aware of their son’s accomplishment until they looked at the trailer that they were loading the horses back in. His father even got teary-eyed. This title came for Tate after other two Nebraskans won the Championship in team roping.
Now, Tate’s goal is to be successful in high school rodeo, and he continues his education at Tarleton State University in Texas. He hopes this way, he will continue his father’s rodeoing path.