Tate Kirchenschlager—the National Finals Rodeo header originally from Yuma, Colorado—joined cousin Dakota as an American Rope Horse Futurity Association Heading Champion when he roped four steers with an aggregate score of 915.69, worth $23,000 in Fort Worth, Texas’s John Justin Arena Oct. 22.
Kirchenschlager and the 5-year-old gelding Born In The Boondocs also won second in Round 2, worth another $3,000 to bring their total haul to $26,000. It marks the first win at the futurity for Kirchenschlager, in his second time competing at the $110,000-added event. His cousin Dakota won it in 2020 aboard X My Ich.
“Everything has to go right,” Kirchenschlager, 29, said. “So many things have to go right. The four steers I drew couldn’t have been any better.”
Kirchenschlager and helper and ProRodeo partner Cole Davison knocked down their first steer, and the duo won second in the round on the next one. They made a solid run on their third steer to come back second callback, behind 26-time World Champion Trevor Brazile and his 4-Year-Old Incentive Champion Tuckin Away Buckles.
“The short round steer was perfect,” Kirchenschlager said. “He left true, and I honestly thought maybe I broke it when I left. That horse is good if they go off to the right. He’ll really run over there and I can get his shoulders picked up and get his left leg underneath him. I got such a good start that I could see the shot coming. Cole, he did a good job of getting him off over there and heeling them. Cole does so good—it pays off when they throw fast. It takes half a second a run off, and you look up and it’s 2, 2.5 points after a few runs. It’s a big deal.”
Kirchenschlager waited at the catch pen to watch as Brazile roped his steer at the bottom end of the pen in a run that wasn’t what he needed. The announcers quickly called the roping for Kirchenschlager and Born In The Boondocs, with the Kirchenschlager family exploding in celebration, along with the rest of the crowd.
Born In The Boondocs is a horse Kirchenschlager and his wife Terra have known since he was a colt. Kirchenschlager’s wife Terra’s parents raised the colt, out of one of her mom’s best cow horse mares, Little Doc Lady and by Smart Boons.
“We showed him last year as a 4-year-old, and we bought him right after, Kirchenschlager said. “Brad Lund broke him, and Terra’s mom tried to cow-horse him, and he wasn’t quite good enough. We started heading on him, and he was green our first year here.”
Lund’s foundation, Kirchenschlager said, helped him go to roping on the horse right away.
“Brad’s really showed me a lot of stuff, and helped how to use my legs and do stuff, and how to walk him into the box. Brad’s really helped with that. That horse had all those buttons to begin with, and all I did was learn how to use them.” TRJ