We had the recently had the opportunity to catch up with four members of the Smarty Young Pro Team. This week, we are joined by Sage Thomas of Markle, Indiana, Tanner Scheevel of Lester Prairie, Minnesota, Cole Vernon of York, Nebraska, and Kaegen Ashkar of Haslet, Texas.

Tell us a little about yourself and what all events do you compete in?

  • Sage: Breakaway, Team Roping (heeler) and Goat Tying

  • Tanner: Team Roping (heeler), Calf Roping, Steer Wrestling

  • Cole: Calf Roping, Breakaway, Team Roping, Goat Tying, Barrels, Poles, Flags

  • Kaegen: Team Roping

At what age did you start riding?

  • Sage: 2 months!

  • Tanner: 4 years old

  • Cole: 2 years old

  • Kaegan: 12 years old

Who is your favorite pro rodeo athlete?

  • Sage: Jackie Hobbs-Crawford

  • Tanner: Joseph Harrison, because he has really good horsemanship and he is a good heeler. JD Struxness, my big cousin, who has shown me that a small town Minnesotan can make it to the next level and have big success.

  • Cole: Tyson Durfey

  • Kaegan: Jade Corkill

How do you prepare yourself for an intense rodeo and school schedule?

  • Sage: School comes first, but my heart is in the roping arena, so it creates a good balance.

  • Tanner: I would practice my roping and then I would study/ do homework.

  • Cole: Do the important stuff first.

  • Kaegan: Practice daily prioritize my time and keep up with my schoolwork.

Tell us a little about your horse?

  • Sage: My main horse, Pistol, is gritty in the arena, and a puppy when it comes to attention.

  • Tanner: I got my horse from my grandpa and we had my cousin JD train him. My horse Izzy is a very moody horse.

  • Cole: My new calf roping horse is Bud. He is 24 years old. He used to be owned by our friend Clay Real. Clay’s life was cut short and I now get to ride his horse.

  • Kaegan: One of my horses is a sorrel gelding heel horse that I got from Billy Bob Brown this year.

What songs gets you pumped up before a rodeo/roping?

  • Sage: "How Bad Do You Want It" and "Grinding All My Life"

  • Tanner: Just about any song sung by Chris Ledoux

  • Cole: Knocking Boots, Dunked On by Froggy Fresh

  • Kaegan: Rock Music

What’s your favorite meal on the road?

  • Sage: I live on cinnamon rolls and Van Holten's Big Papa Dill Pickle Popcorn

  • Tanner: A coldcut combo from Subway or a double bacon cheeseburger from Culvers.

  • Cole: Breakfast Corndog

  • Kaegan: Taco Casa

What do you want to major in college?

  • Sage: I plan on majoring in biology/chemistry and then going into medical school.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

  • Tanner: Industrial Arts is my favorite subject in school.

  • Cole: My favorite subject is Math and PE.

  • Kaegan: Agriculture

You’re on the road a lot, when do you practice?

  • Sage: I practice every chance I get! I always have a roping dummy and a rope with me, and throw lips whenever I get the chance.

  • Tanner: I rope my dummy to help keep my muscle memory.

  • Cole: We practice in the evenings during the week.

Who is your traveling partner(s):

  • Sage: My dad is my traveling partner. I ride shotgun, control the navigation, run the aux, and hand over snacks while he drives me across the country to rodeo.

  • Tanner: I usually travel with a family member to most of the high school rodeos.

  • Cole: My sister and my parents.

What do you do when you are not rodeoing?

  • Sage: Think about rodeo! I also love to workout and lift weights.

  • Tanner: I enjoy playing football, I play basketball, and I love roping with friends.

  • Cole: Play basketball, football, wrestle, and a little baseball.

What’s your favorite thing about rodeoing?

  • Sage: I have two favorite things about rodeo. First, there is always another one. If you have a bad run, chances are you can enter in another rodeo within a week. Secondly, I love the friendships I have made with my competitors. My biggest supporters are those who compete against me when they back in the same box.

  • Tanner: My favorite thing about rodeo is that you need to have a good mental game, because if you make a bad run you can’t let past runs affect future runs.

  • Cole: My favorite thing is just being able to swing a rope and use my hard work to bring home some money. I also love making new friends and hanging out with old friends.

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