For Lincoln Yarama there are few places he would rather be than atop his rodeo horse.
With over 30 buckles to his name, a few champion saddles and five consecutive qualifiers for the National High School Finals Rodeo, it’s safe to say the Grade 11 student from Chase is in his element in the saddle.
“I started rodeoing when I was nine I think. My grandpa bought me an old rope horse and then starting taking me to these little britches rodeos,” he begins. “I started to really like it, and I started practicing every single day… he would make me practice roping 100 times a day! I really started to get good, then he started bringing me to these bigger rodeos and I started to win there.”
Yarama competes in tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling at rodeos across B.C. and the U.S., placing 13th in tie-down roping and sixth in team roping at the 2017 National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, where he rode with his cousin, Oliver Williams. On June 3, Yarama took home five buckles from roping events and a saddle for overall top performance from the B.C. High School Finals Rodeo in Merritt, qualifying him for the Canadian finals July 27-29, as well as the national finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming July 15.
While the enjoyment of riding and roping first sparked his interest, it seems the thrill of competition is what has kept him hooked for so many years.
“I just love the adrenaline rush,” he begins. “When you make a really good run and everyone is cheering for you, just how you feel is awesome. It’s such a big crowd when you back into the box, as soon as you get in there are all these flashing lights from photographers taking pictures, it’s just a good experience.”
Packed into the chute waiting for his turn, the air filled with the excited buzz of the crowd, it’s hard to imagine not getting a bit nervous. However, Yarama has an ace up his sleeve in the form of his trusty steed, who he shares a classic cowboy bond with.
“If I’m nervous, he is nervous, but when I am calm and relaxed he will just be standing there waiting for our turn,” he begins.
“I really just love this horse, we have been working really good together, his name is Wally,” he continues. “He is just starting to get into his prime. He kind of has this funny attitude with him, he will be a good horse in the arena but when you just go out and ride he will try and joke around. He’ll test you, that’s the thing I like about him, he’ll make sure that you really ride him and you know what he is feeling.”
In addition to his passion for riding and roping, the social side of rodeo life is another big factor of why Yarama enjoys it.
“It’s just all your friends at the rodeo together you get to hang out its a good experience you get to make friends wherever you go, I have friends all around the world from rodeoing,” he says.
In fact, he has had the good fortune to meet and get some advice from some of his rodeo icons, including eight-time world championship winner and Pro-Rodeo Hall of Famer Joe Beaver.
Though he still has a year of high school left, Yarama is already looking ahead to getting himself on the pro-circuit and locking down a scholarship to attend university and be a part of a varsity rodeo team in the U.S.
“So far I have already achieved probably $6,000 in scholarships from going to these high school rodeos,” he says. “That’s the whole point of high school rodeo is to get scholarships, people want you on their rodeo team for college rodeo right? I plan on going down south to Wyoming or Oklahoma or something like that.”