BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho state high school rodeo competition starts next week. Nine districts from around the state will compete for the title in their individual event. For a sport that can be unpredictable, there are plenty of those who have made it their passion.
When it comes to roping and rodeos, it’s not all fun and games. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s dangerous and a lot of hard work. For Max Hoge, a 17-year-old from Pingree, it’s something he does every day.
“My whole life, I think I started roping off horses when I was like 5,” Hoge said.
Max is on his 12th year in the sport. He’s sustained many injuries, even losing his thumb in a roping accident. However, he’s a top contender for this year's state rodeo competition.
“There are nine districts with six to seven kids from each district per event. So, there’s quite a few, and they’re all the best from where they’re at,” Hoge said. “But, I feel confident going into it. I’ve worked hard at it. I know I can do it.”
Max will compete in calf roping, also known as tie-down roping. The goal is to get the best time for roping and restraining a calf. He’ll also compete in team roping.
“In team roping, there’s a header and a heeler, and I’m a healer,” Hoge said.
Maci Jo Broncho, a sophomore, will be Max’s header. They’ve roped together for the past two years. Like Max, she is dedicated to the sport and winning.
“It a lot of practice,” Broncho said. “You can’t just practice one day and get on and think you can go out and do it. You have to be consistent, or else you’re not going to be able to do it and do any good.”
Other than roping, Max and Maci Jo share another common thread,: their mothers' nerves.
“My heart beats really fast,. I have to tell myself to breathe sometimes,” Max’s mother, Jocelyn Hoge,said. “I can’t video because my hands are so shaky. Someone else has to video for me. But, every time, I get nervous.”
Though roping can be dangerous, it’s the love of the sport that keeps them saddling up. The high school rodeo starts this Saturday, June 8, and will run through June 15.