EVART – Tyler Tracy had enjoyed a background of working with horses. But when he had a chance several years ago to participate in rodeos, “I wanted to take it to the next level,” the Evart resident explained.

Tracy recently graduated from Evart High School. This summer in the National High School Rodeo finals in Wyoming, Tracy tied for 42nd in bareback riding.

“I scored a 55 on my first horse,” he said. “My second ride, I didn’t score. I’ve been doing all right. I’ve been doing only high school rodeos this summer. I’m done with rodeos now.”

But Tracy’s had a successful stint in the Michigan High School Rodeo Association. He recalls getting involved through a cousin and being able to make the mandatory eight-second ride for scoring shortly after he got involved.

Tracy is getting ready to join the national guard. He has basic training set for Aug. 30 and will be going to South Carolina. That move puts a question mark on his future in rodeo.

When he was in Wyoming, he said he talked to a representative from a college in Missouri about a possible collegiate career in the sport.

“We talked about rodeo and the future, but I said the Guard came first,” Tracy said, “and I would have to get back to them on that.”

Tracy had to admit that participation in rodeos in the past has resulted in occasional spills and chills.

“The worst thing that’s happened to me was at the first rodeo I’ve ever done,” he said. “I made the eight second (ride limit in order to score) but ran into the fence and got knocked off. I was a little sore after that but no serious injuries. I’ve been pretty lucky.”

He was also in a rodeo at Marion this summer. “They have the closest one around here,” Tracy said.

At Evart, Tracy also played football and ran track. At regionals, he qualified for state with his second-place effort in the discus.

In comparing rodeos to other sports, “it’s more challenging,” Tracy said. “There’s lot of mental into it. It’s a lot more physically demanding even though it’s just eight seconds.”