Simon ready to do it all again

Patterson High School sophomore Kaleb Simon was proud to recently compete with the Louisiana State High School Rodeo Team at the 64th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., the world’s largest rodeo.

He didn’t make it to the short round of the competition, but Simon says this is only the beginning of his life in the sport he loves.

Simon says he has been involved in the rodeo “since he was able to walk,” beginning as a calf roper.

Last November, he moved on to bareback riding, a move he sees as the next step in the sport he loves and has devoted his life to.

“Bareback Riding was the beginning of the next step in my career,” he said. “I started in November 2011, after I went to the Southeast Texas Bareback Riding School. They taught me everything I know to get me to Wyoming and I owe a lot to my family and friends for helping out, too.”

While competing in Wyoming, Simon said there was much that was different from competing in south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

The climate is arid and dry, there are mountains rather than marshes as a backdrop to the event, but the biggest difference was the quality of the horses he rode.

Simon said the equines were professional rodeo animals, and were much bigger and stronger than any horses he had ever ridden before.

“The horses were a lot tougher and bigger,” he said. “They are strong and buck much harder than the horses I rode back home.”

Besides the actual competition, Simon said his first major event in Wyoming was very beneficial to him as a rider because he was able to learn about his chosen sport and enjoy the unique experience.

He is hoping to use the event experience to improve his performance on the local high school circuit as he prepares to return as a more experienced rider in 2013.

“The event was fun — I met a lot of new people, and everyone was willing to help me out there,” Simon said. “They were willing to teach me and I was willing to learn.”

As the new school year kicks off, he plans to build on his rodeo experience by competing on the high school circuit. Last year, he said he started midway through the season, but this year, he plans to ride in all the scheduled events, about 25 in total.

He said the experience will allow him to hopefully return to Wyoming next years as a better, more experienced rider.

“I plan to try to make in again,” Simon said. “I will be a better, more experienced rider and I will know what to expect from those horses under me.”

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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