By Michelle Leidy-Franklin
CONWAY SPRINGS – Conway Springs teen Brayden Kunz has qualified for the National Finals Little Britches Rodeo, the National Finals High School Rodeo, and has been awarded the Rookie of the Year by the Kansas High School Rodeo. Kunz will be a freshman in high school next year.
“This is hard to accomplish since you compete against all high school boys freshman to senior age,” said Kunz’s grandmother Jeanie Catlin.
Kunz has grown up participating in rodeos.
“I probably started when I was four or five. So basically my whole life,” said Kunz.
Kunz isn’t the only family member to make the rodeo a way of life. His older sister attends Garden City Community College on a rodeo scholarship. His younger brother regularly competes, and his father judges rodeos as well.
“We bring the whole family along and have a fun time,” said Kunz.
The National Little Britches Rodeo will be held July 5-11 in Guthrie, Okla. The National Finals High School Rodeo will be held July 17-24 in Lincoln, Neb. Kunz will be participating in calf roping in each of the national competitions.
Kunz says the rodeos he participates in have given him the chance to make a lot of new friends and travel across the country. He has participated in rodeos in South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa.
“I’ve been a little bit of everywhere,” said Kunz.
His love for participating in rodeos has won him six saddles, at least 50 belt buckles, and many other prizes like knives and cash. He has also received a $500 scholarship to attend GCCC like his sister, but Kunz says his favorite prize is always the cash.
“This kid is really talented,” said Catlin. “But he spends a lot of time practicing.”