Seymour natives saddle up in first rodeo appearance
By Heather Graves
SEYMOUR – A recently sparked passion for horses and a spontaneous trip to the Sankey Rodeo School in Missouri led two Seymour brothers to give bronc riding a try.
“My family went down to Missouri to ride saddle broncs in March,” Aiden Everard said. “Sankey had a rodeo school down there and they taught us technique, balance and to be fearless. At home, me and my brother, Ace, created a spur board to keep practicing.”
The brothers – Aiden who is 18 and Ace who is 15 – grew up on a dairy farm just outside of Seymour, and said the idea of hard work was instilled in them at a young age.
While the pair didn’t grow up around horses – only getting some a few years ago – Aiden said they have become an important part of their lives.
“My family got horses about four years ago,” Aiden said. “I have a mare who just turned 22 that I ride with as a hobby. She taught me a lot, including being patient.”
His passion for horses is transitioning into his career path.
A recent Seymour High School graduate, Aiden said he plans to attend farrier school in the fall.
“Specifically, I want to learn proper technique for trimming hooves and hot shoeing,” he said. “I have a lot of passion for my horses and want to continue with them in my future.”
Giving the rodeo a try
Eight seconds (or less, depending) might not seem like a lot of time.
However, mounted on top of a bucking bronco, those eight seconds can feel like an eternity.
“The adrenaline rush is what I like the most,” Ace said in regards to his first-ever saddle bronc riding competition. “The atmosphere of the rodeo was good, too. Staying on the bronc for eight seconds, and working up the courage to actually get on a bronc is definitely the hardest part.”
The Everard brothers competed in their first rodeo in the saddle bronc arena – at the Outagamie Pro Rodeo, which was held in Seymour late last month.
As newbies to the sport, Aiden and Ace each had different experiences.
“It was really fun,” Aiden said. “I got on a horse named A.1. – the biggest one in the pen. I was nervous seeing him for the first time, because I didn’t realize how big he was. He’s the biggest bronc I’ve ever ridden.”
And while things didn’t necessarily go how Aiden wanted them to on his first time out, he said he can’t wait to get back out there.
“It was a quick ride – wasn’t what I was expecting,” he said. “I fell off. He took a turn left and I ended up getting a hoof in the face. Luckily, no broken bones or knocked out teeth – just swelling and bruising. I wasn’t able to ride again on Sunday, but I would get back on one any day.”
Ace’s ride was a little more fruitful.
“It was my first rodeo, and it was the longest ride of the night on Saturday for saddle broncs,” he said. “It was fun. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I would definitely recommend it.”
Over the years, Aiden said he has watched the Manawa Rodeo, and he always wanted to give it a try himself.
“It hooked me,” he said. “I wanted to learn, and so did my two other brothers. That’s what started it for me.”
Ace said when his brothers first talked about getting into bronc riding and making the trip to Missouri to train, it wasn’t necessarily something he planned on pursuing himself.
“My brothers decided they wanted to try saddle broncs, so I went with them to Missouri for training,” he said. “I didn’t plan on riding at first, but my brothers convinced me to try. After trying it, I liked it, the adrenaline rush. It was fun, exciting, scary and nerve wracking all at once.”
Aiden said the hardest part about saddle bronc riding is controlling your emotions.
“There’s a lot of things that go on around you,” he said. “You have people telling you what to do, a crowd waiting for you and a horse that needs to be out of the chute.”
Aiden said he plans to continue riding until he is “somewhat decent at it.”
“I’m also going to start bull riding,” he said. “Chasing the dream.”
Ace said it’s his plan to continue riding whenever he can, but likely not professionally.
“I definitely plan on doing more, maybe not as a career path though – just a hobby,” he said.
The Everard brothers are currently training to compete in their second rodeo – this time in Kewaunee.
“If getting into the rodeo,” Aiden said, “my advice would be don’t be scared and don’t underestimate your animal.”