It has been said that a family that rides together stays together, or something like that. The Romans are that kind of a family. According to Crystal Romans, horses and rodeo have become a way of life for the entire family. Both her son, Austin and daughter, Cheyenne, are heavily involved in rodeo.
Cheyenne and Austin are two up-and-coming rodeo cowboys that love the sport. Both riders love the roping events. Cheyenne is 13 and in eighth grade. She qualified for two events, goat tying and breakaway at the 2014 National Junior High Finals Rodeo on June 22-28 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
Austin is a freshman in high school and is going to the Nevada High School Rodeo State finals in team roping. This year the state finals will be in Ely on June 13-15.
Cheyenne first got on a horse when she was 3, but only has been doing rodeo for the past 5 years. She definitely prefers events like team roping and breakaway. In both events, you must rope a calf or steer while mounted on your horse. Regardless of the event, Cheyenne says she spends hours practicing. She is not sure why she loves roping. All she knows is she gets a big charge out of it.
“I started roping at 11. I did it at Jared’s house (a family friend). I caught a horn, but that is illegal. I was really excited to catch one though,” she said. “I did well in goats. When I do well in goats I love it and when I do bad I hate it. Sometimes I will chase cows around at home to practice. We have small ones at home.”
When it comes to rodeo Cheyenne is having fun now. She said she really does not know what the future holds for her in rodeo. It will all depend on how well she does with her livestock in 4-H, which is another one of her passions.
“I want to do this in high school, but I am not sure. I like rodeo and it is awesome and fun, but I also love ranching with 4-H. We have been in 4-H for a long time,” Cheyenne explained. She is considered to be one of the top swine showman in Nye County.
As far as which event Cheyenne will do better at the nationals, it’s hard to tell. She finished 4th in state in goat tying and breakaway.
“I get more nervous with breakaway. They are both my favorite event. My goal at nationals is to have fun and meet everyone,” she said with a smile.
Austin has been roping for about the same amount of time as Cheyenne and enjoys the roping events too.
“I have always liked riding horses and never was interested in rodeo and then my mother told me about a rodeo my sister went to. I then decided to get into it. Ever since I tried it I have been stuck on it,” Austin said.
After high school, he would like to keep on with rodeo.
“I am not really sure where I want to go to college and I am still deciding on what I want to do,” he said.
Even though roping is his favorite sport, Austin says it didn’t come to him easily.
“When I first started roping the hardest part about it was getting the swing down,” he said. “It may feel right at first, but then you miss. This is because your swing is off and if you don’t do something about it then you don’t catch. Getting the swinging right took me forever to learn and I am still learning it. A lot of roping was just practice. I practice every day,” Austin explained.
Sonya Jepson is a professional roper and has been teaching Austin and Cheyenne for the past five years. The two met Jepson at one of her roping clinics. She agrees with Austin and says the swing is important.
“When you are swinging a rope you have to feel where the tip of the rope is going. If you don’t get the swing right the rope will not stay open. The rope needs to stay open as it comes around above your head. It can be very difficult if you hold it too tight,” Jepson said.
At the state finals Austin will be going up against Jared Groene, a senior in high school and his former teacher. Austin knows Groene is good at what he does, but has no problem taking him on.
“Groene has a good header and he is good too. They have been doing it a lot longer than I have. My heeler is just as good as them, and I feel I am just as good as his header. I am going to go in there and I am going to try to beat them. If not, then the best to Jared. I want state to end good because my partner is a senior and it’s his last year and I want to make sure he has a good end to his year,” he said.
His partner is Jason Wertz, a senior from Pahranagat Valley. The two live in separate towns, which means they must practice separately. They may get together only once a year to practice. This is the way for many others in the high school rodeo circuit in Nevada. Good talent is hard to find and so you take what you can get.
Jepson believes that Austin and Cheyenne have talent and she likes what she sees.
“What makes them good ropers: their dedication, their practice, and their will to learn. They never stop practicing. They have so much try and effort and you have to put the time in. They definitely put the time into it. I am very proud of both of them for coming such a long way,” she said.