Roping in the family
For both the DeMontignys and the Gutys, the rodeo is a family sport.
Kyle and Lisa DeMontigny met while on the college rodeo team at North Dakota State University. Their three children, Logan, Lathan and Kaedyn, are the fourth generation of DeMontignys to partake in the sport.
“We’ve had four generations that we’ve been rodeoing,” Lisa DeMontigny said. “They used to hold rodeos out at Kyle’s grandpa’s farm by York. We’ve always rodeod.”
Kindra Guty got her start in the field by horse showing. Later, she passed the sport onto her daughters, Mika and Kami.
“I started horse showing. My family wasn’t really [involved], but they rode a lot,” Guty said. “So I did that and then started rodeoing, then college rodeoing. Then the kids started.”
For the adults of the families, the rodeo is now mostly about their children. Between the five, they participate in Bull Riding, Breakaway Roping, Team Roping, Barrel Racing, Goat Tying and more.
Logan, 15, competes at the high school level. His favorite events include team roping and calf roping. Lathan, 12, mainly competes in rough stock competitions, as well as roping at the Jr High level. Kaedyn, 10, competes in speed timed events, such as barrel racing at the youth level.
Mika, 12, and Kami, 7, both enjoy barrel racing, breakaway roping, goat tying, and other timed events at the Jr High and youth levels, respectively.
“Once the kids start, as an adult, you kind of taper off,” Lisa said, although Kyle does still do some team roping with his sons. “You put everything into [the kids].”
Kindra agrees, saying, “I still barrel race, but it’s not quite as much.”
There are two seasons when it comes to the rodeo. The Jr High and High school rodeo runs alongside the school year, starting in August and running until mid-October, breaking for winter, and then starting again in April and running through the Finals that are held in the middle of June.
During the school year, the kids have to remain eligible to participate by keeping up their grade point average and getting a sign off from the superintendent or principal.
The summer season is different, in that all ages can compete. The summer season starts in June and ends after the Finals in September or October.
When it comes to practice, it is something that both the DeMontignys and the Gutys are very familiar with. “[We practice] just about every night,” Logan said.
“It’s a lot,” Lisa said. “It’s just like a basketball teamyou practice everyday to go to your games twice a week. Well, these guys are practicing everyday to go to their [events] on the weekends.”
The families explained that although they may not practice as much during the winter break, especially in January, by February and March practice resumes to get ready for the next season.
“It’s hard. Sometimes we’re in school sports, too, so you get home from a school sport at 5 or 6 o’clock, shove food in your face, then you go out to the arena until dark,” Lisa said. “It’s a busy schedule during the school year. You still have to get your homework done. It just seems like you wake up running, and you go to bed running.”
As for competitions, these families compete everywhere. Currently, they are participating in the Roughrider Rodeo Association’s competitions.
At the Association’s Maddock Rodeo, July 29-30, Logan placed 2nd in the Jr. Tie Down Roping competition, with a time of 24.1. He also participated in the Mixed Team Roping competition, placing 6th.
Lathan also competed, placing 1st in the Novice Steer Riding competition, with a time of 58.0. He also competed in the Jr. Breakaway competition, placing 5th, with a time of 5.1, as well as participated in the Mixed Team Roping competition.
Mika placed 1st in the Novice Barrel Race competition, with a time of 16.856. Kaedyn was not far behind, placing 6th, with a time of 17.664. Kami also competed in the Novice Barrel Race. Mika and Kami also competed in the Jr. Goat Tying competition.
They also competed in Fort Totten last week, where Logan placed 1st in Team Roping, Kaedyn placed 3rd in Barrel Racing, and Lathan placed 1st in Steer Riding with a score of 89.
Kami was named All Around Cowgirl at a rodeo in Velva last weekend, as well.
“[They] like competing, the adrenaline and the rush,” Lisa said. “There’s a lot learned from it.”
One goal that the kids share is to one day make it to Nationals. They enjoy winning competitions and receiving prizes, but they mostly participate in the rodeo for the fun of it.
All five competitors said that they compete in these events because they have fun. Another part of why they like the rodeo, it brings them closer to their friends and family.
“It’s a good family sport,” Kindra said. “The kids can’t go themselves, so the parents are always with.”
After a laugh, Lisa agreed. “You get to know each other really well when you live in a little horse trailer all weekend,” she said.
The best part about their kids participating in the rodeo, for Lisa and Kendra, is watching them progress and succeed. They enjoy seeing them grow and change in their individual events, rejoicing with them when they excel and do well.
To them, it is a humbling experience.
“There’s so many factors that contribute to the outcome of your runyou obviously learn from each one. Dealing with pressure, success and failure, it is the most humbling sport, I think,” Lisa said.
“You learn a lot,” Kindra added. “You don’t know what those horses will do, and you have to learn how to ride different horses. You have to learn how to deal with different things. They learn how to have a bond with their horses.”
For now, the DeMontignys and the Gutys will continue to compete and participate in the rodeo. For the future, it is something that all of the kids want to pass down to the next generations of their families.