Getting started in any sport requires the right equipment, and it can get expensive just to buy the basics. Tom Reeves grew up in rodeo and went pro by the time he was 16.
“I was in the college industry and I coached a college team to a national title and it started the program from scratch,” says Tom Reeves, Wild Horses Youth Program Founder.
Now, he’s hoping to pass on the sport he loves by traveling the Midwest with his free rodeo school.
“We’ve got kids that are just getting started so safety’s a big thing for us and we take it slow,” says Reeves.
They start from the ground and work their way up to the real thing, giving the students their best tips and tricks to stay on.
“Just be balanced with your body in the saddle,” says Wacey Yellowhorse, Student.
Some of the mentors are other youth, who travel with Reeves’ Wild Horses Program.
“If you show them and we all do it together, it’s more better, because you can learn as you’re doing it, and stuff. But telling them, it’s kind of like, throwing everything at them at the same time,” says Jake Frazier, Student Worker.
Although this is a rodeo class, it’s meant to go beyond that to help the students form healthy habits that they can keep for life.
“Another thing we do is physical, working out. You know, you’ve got to be in shape to do this stuff,” says Reeves.
But, he adds, it’s not just physical health, it’s mental too.
“We talk a lot about peer pressure and things like that,” says Reeves.
He brings in mentors to share their stories with the youth and give them tools to deal with their struggles through rodeo activities.
“They’re excited about their lives, they get some adrenaline run through their veins,” says Reeves.
With all the different aspects behind rodeo, like farrier-ing and raising and breaking horses…he hopes to help the youth find something they love and can continue for their entire lives.
Reeves plans to organize a Wild Horses Youth Program Rodeo for the students to compete in and test out their skills when they are ready.