CATCHING UP WITH SMARTY YOUNG PRO TEAM MEMBERS
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with three members of the Smarty Young Pro Team. This week, we are joined by Houston Childers of Fairmount, Georgia, Jack Robbins of Paragould, Arkansas, Keyton Hayden of Gillette, Wyoming, Levi Parker of Carter, Oklahoma.
Tell us a little about yourself and what all events do you compete in?
Houston: Team roping, breakaway roping, goat tying, daily ribbon roping (Heeler)
Jack: Team Roping, Breakaway, Goat Tying (Heeler)
Keyton: Calf Roping, Team Roping, Ribbon Roping, Chute Dogging, Goat Tying (Header)
Levi: Team roping. Mainly header but also heeler
At what age did you start riding?
Houston: 2 years old
Keyton: 2 years old
Levi: Around 10
Who is your favorite pro rodeo athlete?
Houston: Junior Nogueria
Jack: Junior Nogueria
Keyton: Trevor Brazile because he is such an all-around talent, and humble.
Levi: Joseph Harrison, because he has excellent horsemanship.
How do you prepare yourself for an intense rodeo and school schedule?
Houston: I pray to God and ask him to let me do my best and to do everything to glorify Him.
Jack: I make sure I stay caught up on school work and don’t get behind. I also have to make sure I rest when I need to.
Keyton: I keep up on my studies and school work so I don’t fall behind, and I work on the road if I need to.
Levi: If I’m not driving, I watch roping videos. If I am driving, I am still going through runs in my head. When I get to the event, I like to saddle my horse right away and not be rushing close to the start. I go through my ropes and pick the one that I think will be best. Then I like to find a spot to sit to the side, not socialize for a bit, and focus.
Tell us a little about your horse?
Houston: I have 2 that I ride. Smalls is my heel horse and he is alike Dennis the Minnus and into everything. Cisco is my calf horse and he’s grump like an old man.
Jack: Charlie is an 8-year-old gray mare. We got her when she was 3 and green broke. She pretty much does all rodeo events now—roping, barrels, poles, goats. She has a lot of attitudes and can be hard to deal with but she’s worth it because she is good at her job. She also loves to eat...a lot!
Keyton: I have a great team of horses, but Rambo, my head horse, is definitely my #1. He is a 12-year-old AQHA gelding. He has a huge personality and does not like to be alone. He gives his whole heart every time we enter the practice pen or the arena and I am so thankful for him.
Levi: Jackson is a 14-year-old sorrel gelding. I bought him from a guy that got a spinal cord injury when we were practicing one day. Mr. Jay needed to sell him. It was an instant bond. Jackson will even pin his ears back if my mom gripes at me. I’ve recently bought a horse with more speed, but have not been able to part with Jackson just yet.
What songs get you pumped up before a rodeo/roping?
Houston: Bad to the Bone
Jack: 8 Second Ride by Chris Ledoux
Keyton: Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne
What’s your favorite meal on the road?
Houston: Taco Bell (two soft tacos with a Baja Blast freeze)
What do you want to major in college?
Jack: I plan to go to college and major in agriculture. I want to be a crop consultant like my dad.
Keyton: I would like to major in business management in college
Levi: I would like to go to college to rodeo. I am undecided on a major, but probably something related to agriculture. I am also going to attend a welding program next year.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Houston: Social studies
Jack: My favorite subject in school is reading.
You’re on the road a lot, when do you practice?
Houston: I rope my pipes when I am on the road
Jack: We rope at home in the evening
Keyton: Whenever I’m not on the road.
Levi: I love to practice every day if I can. If I can’t practice in the pen, I like to rope the dummy.
Who is your traveling partner(s):
Jack: I travel with my parents.
Keyton: My family
Levi: Usually my mom and my step-dad if he doesn’t have to work.
What do you do when you are not rodeoing?
Houston: I like to fish and hunt
Jack: Hunt, fish, shoot trap, read, and help my dad
Keyton: Go to school, help on the ranch
Levi: I help on the farm. I like feeding cows way better than building fence. I also like fishing and hunting.
What’s your favorite thing about rodeoing?
Jack: The exhilaration of running down the pen!
Keyton: The adrenaline rush I get after I make a good run, the lessons I learn, and the camaraderie.
Levi: When I challenge myself by setting a goal, then when I meet it.