Tate Kirchenschlager, a 27-year-old Colorado native who now resides in Morgan Mill, Texas, is fresh off his first NFR appearance. Nine years in to his PRCA career, Tate got the big hit he needed in San Antonio, Texas, when he won one of the biggest building rodeos of the year with Ross Ashford and skyrocketed to the top of the standings. The road to the top was a long won for Tate, making a living as a horse trainer and finishing no higher than 47 in the world standings before making his first trip to the Finals last year.
Tate—who will get married in 2020—is rodeoing with his San Antonio championship partner Ross Ashford this year, and he’s still riding the Horse of the Year Jewels Smoke Screen. He’s all-in on a return trip to Las Vegas, and we talk about that and a whole lot more on this episode of The Score, brought to you by Nutrena Feeds.
More with Tate Kirchenschlager:
Transcript by Kelly Lynch, University of Wyoming
[Introduction] This is season 3 of The Score, the Team Roping Journal’s regular podcast where the team roping world talks. We’ve told the stories of some of the greatest cowboys, horses and moments in the sport and we’re so far from done. In 2020, we’ll bring you more of what you’ve come to except like interviews with the best cowboys and cowgirls we know, and we’ll dive even deeper into subject you care about. Look for more audio editions of The Team Roping Journal stories you might have missed in print and learn about the great horses shaping the sport and the great challenges facing our industry. All this and more in 2020, I’m Chelsea Shaffer.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Holy cow guys, season 3 of The Score coming in hot. I cannot believe that we are heading into our 3rd year of this undertaking and that you all have listened to this podcast between The Score and The Short Score almost a half a million times. During the Finals you listened to this podcast 53,000 times. Holy moly guys, that’s pretty amazing, I cannot believe you all listen to us every week, I’m so excited that you do. I’m so, so grateful that you do because if you weren’t, we wouldn’t have folks supporting us and we would not have the ability to do this every other week and then every week with The Short Score. So, I hope that we can help you get through your week, make it a little bit more enjoyable and I hope you all enjoy talking to us or listening to us talk about team roping this much more. Season 3 is kicking off with Tate Kirchenschlager. He’s a 27-year-old Colorado native who now resides in Morgan Mill, Texas, and he’s fresh off his first NFR appearance. Now 9 years into his PRCA career, Tate got the big hit he needed when he won San Antonio, one of the biggest building rodeos of the year with Ross Ashford and skyrocketed to the top of the PRCA’s world standings. The road was a very long one for Tate because he made his living as a horse trainer, finishing no higher than 47th in the world standings before that first trip to the Finals in December. Tate, who will get married in 2020, is rodeoing with his San Antonia championship partner Ross Ashford this year, and he’s still riding the Horse of the Year, Jewels Smoke Screen. He’s all in on a return trip to Las Vegas and we talk about that and a whole lot more on this episode of The Score. Before we get into the interview, we’ve got to thank our partners at Nutrena and Safechoice. Check them out at nutrenaworld.com/safechoice and you’ll learn more about them at the commercial break.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well hey Tate! We are fresh off your first NFR. I’m glad we waited right now, till right now to talk.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, yeah me too.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well okay so I guess, we have to start with the NFR. Talk about you know, how many days, we were like well 5 days removed…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh past the NFR?
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, yeah.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah 5 or 6 days now yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Have you had a chance to process?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh I mean a little bit. I didn’t want to leave. I mean I did, I was ready to go home a little bit, I was tired of riding around in taxis and stuff but as far as the rodeo, that’s, it’s a blast, it is.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Was it? Now how do you feel about how you roped like do you want 10 more there right now? How do you feel about it?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I mean yeah of course like everybody wants to go back tomorrow. I mean I do want to go back as many times as I can, but I feel like I roped pretty good I thought. There were some barriers I broke, a couple of them I should’ve handled a little bit better, but I mean I enjoyed it, I had fun roping with Tyler, I mean it was a blast I mean I was glad we got to rope together. I had a blast roping with him, and yeah, I thought it went good for us.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, I thought so too. Now Smoke, were you happy with Smoke there?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I thought, there was some stuff I wish I would’ve prepared different, should’ve worked on facing him a little bit better but as far as standing there and giving me a flat go and never ducking or nothing I thought he did great there. I got the, he gave me the same go 10 nights in a row, I was happy with how he did, yeah, I thought he did good. I thought he could do a little better in spots, but I thought he did good.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I think the most excitement that we saw from the fans about your team was obviously when Tyler got on Sug too, on Sugar, that was pretty cool, that was a pretty awesome team to have. I don’t know if that’s ever happened before, to have the head and heel Horse of The Year on the same team at the Finals.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I actually asked Powder about it, if him and Riley ever rode Bob and Ray but he said it was different times never – and even Powder, he thought that was the first time the head and heel horse were the same and – that’s what Worley said too, “no excuses to do bad now, we got the best, no excuses to do bad now we got 2 good horses to not do good,” so. So, yeah, that was good, I was glad Billie Jack let him ride him, it was good, yeah it was fun.
[Chelsea Shaffer] It was cool. Now okay so let’s, let’s start back before your very 1st NFR, your 1st year in the PRCA was 2010? It was a while ago.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Maybe yeah ’10 or ’11. Maybe ’11, yeah ’11, I think yep.
[Chelsea Shaffer] ’11. Okay so what, talk about the journey to this point. What were you doing? How did it get to this point? Was it long?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah it was a long journey. I rodeoed in ’11 a little bit, or quite a bit a little bit and then in ’12, I think it was ’12 was the first year Dakota made it maybe? Yeah ’12 I rodeoed with him until California and then I rodeoed with another guy until Cheyenne, I went home and then ’13, I rodeoed all of ’13 with Will Woodfen. We just missed it by $10,000 or $12,000 like everybody does that miss it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Did you guys win The Wildfire that year?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, no he won it with Bubba Buckaloo
[Chelsea Shaffer] With Bubba, gotcha.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Then ’13 I rodeoed all year. I rodeoed the winter of ’14, I didn’t do any good and then really I didn’t rodeo. I’d go to the winter rodeos, but I didn’t really rodeo again until ’18 really…No it would’ve been ’17. ’17, ’18 right there I rodeoed and then made it in ’19. Yeah, so it, but right there in-between I guess you could say ’13 and ’17 my old horse went down, I never really had a horse and then Smoke come along and I took off rodeoing in ’17 or ’18 yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What were you doing in the time that you weren’t rodeoing?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] There was a guy that had a covered arena in Morgan Mill, Texas and it worked out kind of good when I kind of, end of ’13 or ’14 he bought it to work for him, just training horses. I just rode horses, trained horses, traded some cows, jacked around, just played around, made some horses. It was good I mean if it wasn’t for that place, I wouldn’t have been able to make that horse and so yeah that, just roped, I guess.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha. Now were you raise in Yuma with Dakota? Like tell me how, what was it like when you were a kid?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] So I was raised in Yuma my whole life. He was just raised in Kersey until he was like 13 or 14. He moved to Texas and then but me and Trevor grew up right there in Yuma our whole life. It was, it was good I mean we had every opportunity you know we’d get home from school at 3:00 o clock and dad would always have horses saddled and stuff, so I mean we roped quite a bit I mean a lot. Yeah, it was nice, I liked it, it was good.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Did you parents both rope?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah dad always roped, mom did. She kind of quit when we were young but dad, he roped with us all through high school until we graduated.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Did you junior rodeo a bunch or?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh yeah, we junior rodeoed, high school rodeoed, amateur rodeoed in Nebraska. I mean they didn’t have a junior rodeo without us, we went to them all yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What did you win in the junior, were you just killer in the junior rodeos?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh no not really. I did better in like the freaking flag race and stuff like that than I did in the roping stuff. But we roped calves, we did every event, everything we could.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Are there barrel racing and pole bending pictures?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, we did that, yeah, we did that. Mom made us do that. We did that until we couldn’t do it anymore but yeah, we did it all, we did it all.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome. So, what was your dad like as far as like in the practice pen, what were your mom and dad like?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Mom never come to the practice pen; she didn’t like coming to the practice pen. Dad was strict I mean it was, it was by the book and dad was strict I mean we dang sure got our fair shares of ass chewings. I mean dad was strict, but it paid off like you know it was good, I liked that he was that strict. Now I mean then I kind of sucked but now it paid off because you know it was, he never let us go practice without a purpose. It didn’t matter if we were 10-years-old or 16-years old, we had to practice with a purpose and now I see why. Like now it makes us to where we know like I feel like now, I know how to practice from that, so it was good. Like the practices, they were strict I mean it was, it was intense practice, it wasn’t, there wasn’t much just hey let’s go rope for fun, it was intense practices, but it was good, I was glad it was that way.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What were, what were you particularly bad at or what was something that you got in trouble for a lot or what was 1 of his pet peeves?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] When I wanted to learn how to reach. I wanted to start learning how to reach and boy he hated that. He would not let me do that, he hated it and right there until and then when I did learn how to kind of reach and he was fine with me reaching if I’d catch, he hated us missing practicing. Like he did not want us to miss practicing. So when I was learning how to reach boy that was a fight for a while. It took about 6 or 8 months and then when I got to where I could reach a little bit and catch them, then he was kind of okay with it, but he didn’t like us missing, he didn’t want us missing.
[Chelsea Shaffer] How old were you when you were learning how to reach?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh I don’t know, I’m still learning how to reach, I don’t think I reach very good, I don’t think I reach very good now, I should’ve started earlier. Probably 15, right around 15 or 16 right in there I started. I was trying to learn how to throw coil, 2 coils like everybody does, right in there.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So did they have to push you to get out and ride a lot or like how driven were you yourself as a kid?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I didn’t think they had to push us a lot like we always enjoyed roping, we always wanted to rope. I mean don’t get me wrong they always had our horses ready to go for us, we always wanted to rope. And then I would say we were driven but I would say it really hit me around honestly when I was about, I’m 27 now, probably right around 22 is when it really hit me. Like so from 18 to 22, I just you know I roped, and rodeoed, jacked around or whatever and then about 22, I was like if you’re gonna do it, we gotta be a full-time deal, and that’s when I worked for Gerald so that’s when the driven part set in. Like 10 or 12 horses to ride, like treat it like a business, we gotta get up, we gotta get it done. Like so, like I would say the driven part didn’t set in until, I got tired of losing. I mean I think when people, when we were young it was easy, I mean we won just like all the other little kids win and then I got tired of losing when I was about 22 and that’s when it set in to start working at it harder.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What kind of horses were you on as a kid? Good ones, trainers?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, they had us great horse. We always had 1 or 2 really good horses to compete on and then they always had us a couple practice horses but our practice horses were pretty dang good. I mean honestly, we were spoiled as kids, we had great horses. Our horses growing up were better than they should’ve been, we were spoiled as kids. Yeah, we didn’t have to ride very much shit, we were pretty dang lucky growing up. Our horses were good yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s funny. I always just remember Dakota’s stories of some of the stuff he got on back then, but you guys were not brothers, you were cousins.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, no we’re not. Like it was opposite like I’m not gonna lie, his dad put him on some shit. Like, he got the bad end of the straw there like we were spoiled, he had to ride some shit yeah
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, him and Tory always bond over that.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I will vouge for him there, he did have to ride some shit.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, just a little different there.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah it was definitely different, different picture there but.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Awesome, so when did you, so you stayed in Colorado until how old and then when did you move to Texas and why?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I graduated I think I was 18 and then I just wanted to go to Texas to rope. I mean I just, growing up pretty much from 15 to 18 all I heard about was Texas, I wanted to go down there. As soon as I graduated, I went down there, I did college for a semester, I didn’t like it and then I mean I stayed down there quite a bit. I’d come back to Colorado for a month or 2 but I just always tried to stay I mean everything is down there you wanted to do. So, I mean if yeah, I mean you can rope more, go to more ropings, be around the people that rope so I tried to stay down there as much as I could.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, now who were some of your role models? Obviously, your dad had a big influence but who else?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] When I was really young, I didn’t know enough to really have a role model. I would say like when I started 16 to 18 like really seeing what was going on, I really liked Turtle Powell, Chad Masters, you know guys like that. Like I really liked the way they roped and people like that I really, I mean I still to this day I think Chad Masters is the most underrated header in the PRCA. I mean I think he’s the most underrated header, I mean nobody talks about him. They talked about Driggers, Clay Smith – which don’t get me wrong they’re in a league of their own – but I mean Chad Masters is legit and so I mean he’s still the person I still probably look up to nowadays.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well Chad knows I would love to talk to him, but he doesn’t like to answer his phone and do interviews so.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I believe that.
[Chelsea Shaffer] In my defense, that’s one of the reasons we don’t talk much about that.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I could see Chad being that way yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah no, but when we do get to talk to Chad though we get great stuff but…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Chad, he’s an interesting character yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] He’s something.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, he is.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Okay so talk about training horses, what have you learned since you kind of started taking it seriously with training horses? I’m sure you’ve learned a ton.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I’ve learned a bunch. I mean I still have a bunch to learn. I still, I mean I still don’t think I’m as good as I need to be at it and I don’t know, patience is the main thing. Mainly patience, that’s the main thing and then I think another thing is you need to understand what the horse is capable of doing like if he’s not capable of being that open calibered, don’t mess him up by trying to make him that way. Make him as good as he can be and let him be what he can be. Like don’t try to make a horse into something he can’t be. That’s, main thing is understanding the horse. You got to understand what works for the horse, you gotta understand what don’t work for them, you gotta understand how far you can push them. So, like I think I learned a lot of that in the last 3 to 5 years – how far to push them, when to back off, when not to push – and pay attention. Like if you’ll pay attention, the horse will tell you. You gotta be able to, you gotta be able to know when the horse is telling you to quit or push harder. Like that’s what’s the hardest part about understanding it. But I do believe when you have a good horse and they want to be good, you’re just riding them, they’re training their selves. Like I do believe like JD says it all the time you know good horses make great horsemen or whatever, I don’t know exactly how he says it but its true. I mean if you got a horse that’s gonna be good, you’re just riding them, they’re training their selves, I mean they really are. Like Smoke I mean he’s a good horse, he was broke when I got him, I mean he trained I just roped on him. It wasn’t, I mean don’t get me wrong, I slow steers score you know, just what everybody does or whatever, but I mean they, good horses train their selves I think anyway.
[Commercial] It’s time to get more from your horse feed, don’t you think? That’s why SafeChoice provides great tasting choices with high quality nutrition including superior amino acid levels for a strong topline. So, whether you’re looking for more performance results or simply healthy benefits for more quality time together, you’ll get more piece of mind when you feed SafeChoice. See what’s new and find a retailor near you at nutrenaworld.com/safechoice.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Do you have a favorite bit that fits better with your hands than like, the bit that you grab right away when you’re getting your horse?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I got a lot of corrections. A lot of solid corrections you know Daryl Davis’s, Kerry Kelly’s solid. I’ve never liked chains, I’m not a chain guy, I hate chains, they’ve just never felt good in my hand. But a solid correction, I’ve probably got 7 or 8 different style of solid corrections and for some reasons that’s always felt good to me in my hands. I’ve used them forever it feels like so that’s what I like.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Even when you were a kid?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] To be honest, I used whatever dad told me to when I was a kid. I mean we didn’t, I mean he knew more about it than we did. He had our stuff lined up for our horses. Honestly, I didn’t know what a bit did, I didn’t know brands of bits until I turned probably 18 to 20 years old. Like it was always dad said that one worked on that horse and that’s what we rode. Like I never heard of Kerry Kelly, I never heard of Daryl Davis, I never heard of nothing. All I knew was whatever we had in the room that dad gave us. So, I didn’t get involved in learning about that stuff until I was probably 18, 20. And I’ve just always, the corrections have felt good. Yeah, I mean I’ve experimented I’ve been through hundreds of bits trying to experience it but yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Now as far as head gear goes, do you like anything other than a tie down? Do you…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No I just, I’ve tried everything like just like everybody else. A horse isn’t working good, his heads up, try a brain chain or a you know a headset or whatever they call them and honestly it’s just a band aid over the problem. Like, so I’ve come to find out just put a tie down on them and make them work. I do believe in starting young horses without a tie down. I like roping on them when they’re green without a tie down to get them listening to me better, but I do believe, I think tie downs help balance more than anything, so I do believe rope horses do need tie downs. I think it helps them balance more than it does anything. So, I’m a firm believer – I’ll put a mouth shutter on some horses like sometimes practicing I’ll put a like a cavesson on Smoke, he likes to open his mouth a little bit sometimes. But besides a cavesson, tie down, normal bridle, I try to keep it simple, simple.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha. What about, so now that you’ve been in the PRCA for a while, 8 years or so, there’s a lot of politics that a guy could get into if he wanted to, do you pay attention to everything that’s going on as far as PRCA board meetings and this and that?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No I got plenty of my own stuff to worry about, I got plenty to keep me busy. I try to keep up with you know what the rodeos are doing – like this year we got to go to X amount of tour rodeos or this rodeos taking this many teams – like I try to keep up with what I need to keep up with to make sure I can take care of the business side of it. But no, I don’t, I don’t. I mean Sherwood keeps up with it. I talk to Sherwood about some stuff sometimes, but I got plenty of my stuff to keep me busy.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah for sure. Now we’re sitting here at the Denver qualifier which I’m sure you’ve been to before in the past.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I’ve been here a few times yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Is this going to be your circuit by the way?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I’m going to claim Mountain States, I like the circuit up here.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Are you going to go to enough Mountain States rodeos that it matters?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I hope so, I hope so. I need to, last year I didn’t, I need to.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Was it an accident that you didn’t go to enough?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, I told Buddy when we started roping, I said it’s the money at the Circuit Cinals isn’t going to count for 2020, said my ultimate goal is to make the National Finals, I said I could care less to make the Circuit Finals this year. I said I wanna, I wanna make the National Finals. So, we didn’t, we didn’t plan accordingly, we didn’t duck off for none of them. We went to some of them, but we didn’t, it was not a priority and this year the money is gonna count for 2021 so I do, I do want to go to the right amount of count. I will duck off and make sure I get my count this year.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Get to Grover and Evergreen and Elizabeth.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Steamboat when we can. Yeah, this one counts right here so I got one.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah one!
[Tate Kirchenschlager] So I’m doing good, I’m doing good.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So now tell us why you had to come to the Denver qualifier.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, we just, we didn’t do a very good job taking care of business. We didn’t get our P’s and Q’s; we didn’t do what we were supposed to so that’s why we’re here.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I thought maybe Ross wasn’t high enough to get in Denver.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No he finished like 19th. I mean yeah, we should’ve got in Denver.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Oh so yeah, I should’ve looked.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, we didn’t do our job and get our stuff done on time.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Dangit. I didn’t mean to put you on blast there.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] No, I don’t want to throw Ross under the bus. No, he didn’t buy his card in time. That was like yesterday everybody’s asking why you’re here and Ross didn’t buy his card in time; I got tired of throwing him under the bus, so I just told everybody we needed the practice. Circuit rodeo, that’s why I’m here. I needed another circuit rodeo.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, it’s kind of on the way to Texas from…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, it’s on the way to the house. It really does though, it counts so if we can make the rodeo it’ll count for 2 circuit rodeos.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] So I’ve just been telling everyone I need the count.
[Chelsea Shaffer] A little extra money.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah because it adds a lot yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] A little extra money. A little 800 bucks on the way home from the National Finals.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, we need the practice that’s why we’re here, we need the practice.
[Chelsea Shaffer] What did you guys do on your first one?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] We didn’t do any good.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you need the practice?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, we do! Good thing.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Good thing, proven!
[Tate Kirchenschlager] We do, we need to catch today but no. I don’t mind, it’s, I do think you got to have the all-in mentality to rodeo. So, like you know those people that try to take short cuts, don’t have that all-in mentality, I think you gotta have the all-in mentality whether it means going to the qualifier, or you know going places you don’t want to go, you got to go. You got to have the all-in mentality you know so I think you have to do stuff like this, I think it pays off in the end, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah, speaking of that all-in mentality, Buddy has the all-in mentality, right?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah Buddy takes it to the extreme. Buddy takes the all-in mentality to the extreme but that’s why Buddy does good. I mean and I respect him for it and I like his, and I mean I learned that from him this summer. Like you got to have that all-in mentality and it’ll pay off for him. That’s why he’s made the Finals twice, that’s why he’s gonna make it again I mean because he does, he does have that all-in mentality and you got to have it. I mean because if you don’t, there’s, because I really do think you know there’s 15 guys that go to the Finals every year, I think there’s only about 30 to 35 that have that all-in mentality. And if you don’t have the all-in mentality, you’re not gonna make it so you got to be one of those guys that do and like I think that’s why some people struggle, they don’t have that mentality, and that’s, I think it hurts them in the long run.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So if you were to describe all little bit more about what that mentality means, on a day-to-day basis what does that mean to you?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh I mean I think it means you know nobody wants to make the long drives to the rodeos that aren’t as good. I mean we all want to go to Houston, we all want to go to San Anton, they’re a blast. But it’s going through the little steps. Like nobody wants to come to the Denver qualifier but you want to win Denver, you want to make the Finals, you need to go. You’re all in, you go. You know, you show up, you get done at Austin you have 35,000 won, California’s fun but it’s like man I don’t want to drive out there, be out there for a month? No. You drive out there, you go out there, even if you only win 3,000 out there, you went out there. You’re chasing points, its, you put it on paper it don’t make sense, you’re chasing points. You need to be all in from the word go like you know I think, and Buddy made a good point this summer, the people who say, “Well we’re going to rodeo until Cheyenne, see how it looks,” you’re just, you’re looking for a time to go home.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] You know the guys that make the Finals every year, when they show up to Odessa, they know they’re going till Stephenville. Like they’re all in, they’re going till Stephenville and I think that’s how you have to be. Like if you look for a spot to go home, you’ll be going home. Like you won’t win enough but if you, if you can make yourself bear down and I know it costs a lot and you got to find a way just like everybody’s got to find a way, but if you can make yourself bear down and go all the time – like I don’t even mind, I like going to unofficial rodeos like experience young horses, I think it helps – the more steers you can run behind the barrier the better. So, I think that’s kind of the all-in mentality, I guess.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s a good answer. What like, you brought up money like it costs a lot. What’re without saying anything that’s too offensive, what’re some of the things that you’ve had to do when you needed money?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh man, it’s just, like now I’m fortunate enough, that deal in Morgan Mill, that indoor arena I worked at was good. I trained horses, I got a little bit of a name built up to ride some horses so like now, the off months, I’ve always, I’ve always got 7 to 10 outside horses. You know, good, young horses I start for people so anytime I have months off, ride horses for people, train horses, you know make that $900 a month you know train. Anytime I have a chance to make an extra dollar, just hustle around and do it. Like don’t, don’t sit around and be lazy like there’s always money to be made out there when you’re at home. You just got to go do it or you’ll be in a bind, you’ll get in a real big bind. So, the main thing is, I just try to hustle any chance I got, any chance I get. Like last fall I stayed at my dad’s house, we doctored yearlings for 60 days straight. I mean I didn’t want to do it, but it paid too good not to do it. But I think whatever you can find to do.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Next time you do that let us know. I have like 4 or 5 head that I could send for you to ride.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, yeah, its good out there it is but yeah you just, people got to find a way to make money and everything’s different for everybody. Like Buddy he stays down there at Webb’s you know, makes money down there and everybody’s got, you just gotta find what it is that works and then do it. Tyler Wade does private lessons, outside horses, it’s the same way over there.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Sells donkeys.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I mean he’ll make $200 on Jersey calves I mean he’ll sell goats I mean it’s whatever it is and he’s a hustler. I mean when he’s home…
[Chelsea Shaffer] He might be the hustler.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh gosh he blows my mind. He’s not gonna lose $10 over something, I can promise you that. But it’s the same way at his house, when he’s home, he’s constantly doing something, and I think that’s how all those guys are. That’s how you gotta be, I think.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah for sure. Man, you grew up cowboying a lot, right?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, yeah, we had cows and helped the neighbors and yeah it was a great lifestyle growing up, I mean it was fun yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So, do you miss that as far as in making horses now that you don’t or do you have access to all the cows and…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] We still got cows, but I don’t have access like I use to. I mean I do, like my dream deal would be to manage a ranch one day. I love cattle, I love the ranching lifestyle, like, I wish I had a ranch, but I don’t I mean and yeah, I love that lifestyle. It would be nice to have that. I don’t know, I don’t know if I mean I don’t know if I’ll ever fall into something or manage a ranch or what but that would be the ultimate deal to have a ranch, manage somebody’s ranch, horse program, like. But I do, I love that lifestyle. I think that is one of the best lifestyles.
[Chelsea Shaffer] It seems like you’re certainly making enough good horses without access to a ton of cows and big country.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, it’s just a little different. Like now when I get them they gotta be, somebody’s already had to take them through the ranch process before I can jack with them. Where I use to be able to get them as 3- and 4-year olds with 30 rides on them and I could ranch on them and do it but I can’t do it now, so you know I got to have horses that somebody’s already had that done on.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Gotcha, now tell me about your partner for this year. Ross was a rookie of the year?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] 2 years ago?
[Chelsea Shaffer] 2 years ago?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, yeah, I’m excited to rope with him. He ropes good, he’s a real nice kid, he’s funny. I’m super, I’m think I’m more excited to rope with him than I have been anybody in my whole life. I mean that’s what I told somebody this morning on the phone, I think I’ve got the best partner that I’ve probably ever had. Like I mean I am excited to rope with him, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] And he’s made his mistake for the year of not buying his card in time to go to Denver so.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, I don’t hold it against him. I called him or it was kind of my fault because I called up there and entered and they said, “hey your partners flashing,” and I was in Vegas, I was running around, like maybe he forgot to pay a fine at Bellville and then we get the callbacks were drawn out and then it hit me, I’m like well he couldn’t of bought his card if he didn’t pay his fine. Because you have to have all your fines paid before you paid your card. I’m like well shit I knew he didn’t pay his card in time you know, and I called him like, “Hey did you buy your card?” “Yeah, I bought it yesterday.” I’m like “the books literally opened before you bought your card.” So, I just laughed at him, I didn’t, I don’t hold it against him. I don’t care one bit, I mean I don’t mind roping here, it’s, I like him, so I don’t ever get mad at him.
[Chelsea Shaffer] So you’re gonna do all the entering then?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh yeah. I love entering.
[Chelsea Shaffer] You do?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Oh I love entering. I mean I do. I like trying to figure out the best places to go, how to do it, stay on top of it, like I enjoy it. I think we’re gonna buddy with Garrett Chick and Walt Woodard a little bit and I’m gonna enter them. I love entering. I like doing the entering, I enjoy it. It’s hard but it’s fun, I enjoy it.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’ll be cool, that’ll be. Walt likes the travel by himself, but you’ll undoubtedly have to spend some time over the 4th of July with him in a truck, maybe learn something?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I know with Walt we’ve really kind of hit it off in the last year.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Really?
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I went over there and practiced a bunch and stayed around there and I mean I bet, I talked to him this morning on the phone. I bet we talk on the phone every day. I mean Walt and I have really hit it off.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome!
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I’d say we’ve became pretty good friends. Last summer, I bet I talked to him every day, all summer. He’s hilarious.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah what do people not know about Walt Woodard? I feel like he’s all business all the time, so I don’t, I don’t know a lot…
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Walt’s got a funny side to him, a real funny side.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Yeah.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I understand why he don’t talk to people because he does schools all the time, so like he’s always having to entertain, entertain, entertain so when he’s done with the schools, and he’s outside the school circle like it’s nice. I see why people are like, “man he’s always by himself, always doing his own thing,” well he’s tired of entertaining people. He gets tired of talking to people which I could see but he is hilarious. I mean gosh he’s hilarious. I enjoy talking to him, he’s taught he a lot. He helps me still; I mean he’s always giving me advice. I ask, I mean if I go to somebody for advice, I usually ask Walt for a lot of advice. Yeah, he’s a good role model, he is.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I bet he, yeah, I bet he is full of good advice.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I mean he, as far as like the business side of rodeo, if you look and see what Walt Woodard has and what he does every day now – like actually being over there and seeing what goes on—I think he has done better on the business side of things for himself and rodeo than anybody else has. I think so, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Probably so, his place is amazing.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, his place is amazing, you know he’s got schools constantly. People wanting him to teach them how to rope, or him teach them how to rope and I think on the business side of it, I think he’s one of the best there is, yeah.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Well that’s awesome. Well, I’m excited to watch you rope this year. It’s gonna be fun.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, it’ll be a fun year. Hopefully, hopefully we can do good but its, Lane Ivy said it best, this time last year we showed up to Odessa and I don’t know, we were talking about something and he said, “Nobody cares about 2018 Tate. It’s over with.” You know because I told him something about the Finals and he’s like, “Don’t talk about the Finals, it’s over with, nobody cares what happened in 2018,” and that’s the truth. I mean 2020, nobody gives a shit what happened at the 2019 NFR. It’s a new year, anybody can make it and it’s a long, long, just because you made it last year don’t mean you’re gonna make it again. It’s a long road, its long.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Lane Ivy with the sage advice you are right.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah, he’s an opinionated guy himself too, yeah. He’s a little different.
[Chelsea Shaffer] He’s the only person who sought me out to write the cheat sheet and wrote the cheat sheet himself that I don’t, I do this little pre go-round cheat sheet every day during the Finals that says somebody’s opinion. He asked me to do it and then wrote it himself and sent it to me. That’s never happened before.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] See Ivy, he will disagree with you just to have an argument. When you’re talking to him about stuff like he’s so opinionated, like he will disagree, even if he agrees, he’s gonna disagree so he can argue with you.
[Chelsea Shaffer] I love it. I love participation because a lot of times I’m just begging for someone to help participate with me so.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] I know I love him; I mean he’s; I love him to death I mean he’s the best man at my wedding, so I mean I love him to death but that’s just how he is. That’s Lane.
[Chelsea Shaffer] That’s awesome, I love it. Well thank you Tate.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Yeah thank you guys.
[Chelsea Shaffer] Good luck today.
[Tate Kirchenschlager] Thank you.
[Closing] Before we go, we got to thank our partners at SafeChoice and Nutrena for sponsoring this episode of The Score. Check them out at nutrenaworld.com/safechoice to meet all of your horse’s nutritional needs. Thank you all so much for listening to this episode. This interview with Tate Kirchenschlager, we really appreciate your time. We appreciate that you are spending your drives or your time in the office or your time on the tractor, whatever you’re doing in your free time, thank you for including us.