Families That Practice Together, Stay Together, Rodeo offers opportunity for parents and grandparents to coach
Murphy Haun competes in the breakaway roping at the Stapleton, Neb. high school rodeo June 2-3. Photo by Carol Murphy.
Halsey, Neb. (June 4, 2012) – Most kids practice for their high school sports at school, away from home and their parents.
But when it comes to rodeo kids, mom and dad - -and even grandma and grandpa – act as coaches, stat keepers, and even bus drivers.
That’s how it is for the Haun family.
The four kids: daughters Kaylie, 17, Murphy, 15, Madi, 14, and son Pake, 11, all get together nearly every evening at the family’s outdoor arena and practice their rodeo.
Kaylie and Murphy, both competitors in the Nebraska State High School Rodeo Association, practice barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping, and pole bending. And their younger siblings join them.
But it’s not just the four Haun kids in the arena. Oftentimes their younger cousins, ages 11 and 9, also join in.
Coaching from the sidelines are mom Cody Haun, and her parents, Gene and Carol Murphy. “My dad (Gene) helps them a lot,” Cody says. “Sometimes they listen better to him than me.”
Kaylie, the oldest of the kids in the practice pen, also offers advice occasionally. “My little sister doesn’t like to listen to me, but the cousins, they’re interested in stuff, and they’ll listen.” Practice with three siblings plus cousins can be fun, too. “Sometimes (practice) is kind of interesting, because sometimes nobody gets along, but other times, it’s fun.”
The Hauns moved from Mitchell, Neb. to Torrington, Wyo. last year, but the girls decided to continue competition in Nebraska high school rodeo. As students at Torrington High, they are both involved in FBLA, FFA, are honor roll students, and play sports in addition to their rodeo. Kaylie, a senior this fall, plays basketball and runs track and cross country. Murphy, a junior this fall, plays basketball and volleyball.
Both girls are headed to the high school finals rodeo in Hastings in June, where the top 30 high school rodeo contestants in each event compete for the state title, and quite a few Hauns and Murphys (their mom’s side of the family) will also attend. Dad Matt and Cody, plus the four kids will be there, as will Cody’s parents and Matt’s parents. It’s almost like a vacation, Murphy said. “We don’t usually have time for a vacation. Rodeo is our vacation.”
This won’t be Kaylie’s first trip to the finals in Hastings. She qualified last year, and finished in the top four in the barrel racing, goat tying, and pole bending, qualifying her to go on to the National High School Finals Rodeo. This year, she’ll enter the state finals in Hastings in even better position. She’s currently number one in both the barrel racing and pole bending, sixth in the goat tying, and tenth in the breakaway roping.
And till they head to Hastings in June, they’ll continue their evening practice sessions with the family in their arena.
The Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo will take place in Hastings June 20-23, with five rodeo performances over the four day period. Over 200 high school rodeo athletes from across the state will compete in ten events, with the top four in each event going on to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo. in July. For more information on the state finals, visit the Adams County Fairgrounds’ website at www.adamscountyfairgrounds.com.