Greenwood sophomore wrestles steer while helping next generation cowboys, cowgirls

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier
Andrew Tibbits (left) watches a mutton busting contestant during the Scranton Rodeo event. Tibbits helps out with the 20 rodeos in the area and competes in chute dogging, which is like steer wrestling, but not from horeseback.

Greenwood sophomore Andrew Tibbits wiped the sweat off his brow and watched a kid take off on top of a sheep for the mutton bustin'contest at the Scranton Rodeo event.

Tibbits fell into helping the DD (Double D) Rodeo Company. He started to come around to lend an extra hand to help. And now he finds himself at the arena with the first load-in of livestock to the last loadout, which has been as late as 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

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"I just like helping the other kids. I look up to some of them, and they look up to me," Tibbits said. "I know what that's like. I started with the rodeo when I was six or seven, and now I'm competing against 19-year-olds and doing pretty well."

The DD Rodeo will put on 20 consecutive weekends of rodeo in the Arkansas River Valley and Oklahoma. When Tibbits isn't at the rodeo, he's like other incoming high school sophomores who enjoy fishing, swimming, and "basically have fun."

"We roped a cow out in the pasture the other morning," Tibbits said. "I've been around cows all my life. None of my friends do rodeo, but they're supportive and have come to watch me at some of the rodeos."

Tibbits primarily participates in chute dogging. The event is similar to steer wrestling, but instead of leaping from horseback to wrestle down a steer, the participant comes out of the chute as well. He will also do some team roping, but he prefers chute dogging and hopes that he could do steer wrestling in the future.

"It's my favorite and my third year of doing it," Tibbits said. "When I get out the junior rodeo, I can do steer wrestling. Some folks start earlier, but I'm going to wait until I'm 19 or 20. Right now, it's fun and good competition going up against 19-year-olds."

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The junior rodeo events are structured to introduce the younger kids to rodeo events like goat tying (different age divisions for 10 and up). Tibbits supplies the goats needed for the event. The youngest kids (ages 9 and under) participate in goat tail untying, where the participant has to race to get a ribbon off the tail of a goat (who is tethered).

Tibbits also competes in skeet shooting at Greenwood, but he is primarily interested in rodeo.

"I want to do college rodeo. I might go to college and study diesel mechanics," Tibbits said. "After college, I'll probably be a mechanic. I may still work at the rodeo. I still want to help kids out."