Caleb Berquist, 22, of LaCross, WA, currently ranks No.1 in the Resistol Rookie All-Around Standings for the 2022 season with $12,018.65 in PRCA earnings as a rookie in team roping, steer roping, and tie-down roping.
Jenna Link: Tell me about your background and how you got started roping.
Caleb Berquist: My grandma rodeoed and my dad rodeoed in high school, but he didn’t have the funds to go further down the road. My grandma had always told him that if he was ever fortunate enough to help us start rodeo to do it. She passed away when I was one so it’s kind of been our family’s goal to continue on and make her proud.
I started junior high rodeo when I was in seventh grade and then before that, I had only entered a few junior rodeos. So I didn’t really start when I was real young. We played sports and we have a ranch that consumed a lot of our time and still does.
JL: Talk about your progression from junior rodeo to ProRodeo.
CB: I knew there were a lot of big names out there, and I was nervous about competing against them. My dad used to call it our tuition year, which meant you just got the experience under your belt for a year. High school rodeo was great for me, won the state. Then amateur rodeo, I was nervous at first and then it kind of kicked off. Then all of a sudden we were graduating high school and I got a full ride to Montana State University and it really wiped my perspective.
JL: What changed your perspective?
CB: They helped me financially to attend school, and I held up my end of the bargain by helping the team. I practiced every day. Things started to click my sophomore year, I felt that the more time I put in, the better results I would get. My junior and senior years, I won the All-Around, my senior year I won the Team Roping heading.
JL: Talk about buying your permit.
CB: I bought my permit when I was a junior in college. The first year, I made the Columbia River Circuit Finals, and the second year, I won the Montana Circuit. So things have gone well.
JL: What are your goals with ProRodeo?
CB: Last year I was runner-up in the All-Around. I team rope, calf rope, and steer rope. I was only short by a couple thousand. So I think for sure this year my goal is to win the All-Around in our circuit. Continuing to win the calf roping and making the circuit finals towards the top in the team roping are goals that I have been working on. But as far as outside of the circuit, I can finally enter Livingston and Cody and stuff like that. I’m just excited to have a chance to compete with all the guys who have been doing it forever.
JL: Tell me about your partner.
CB: Teegan Leno is one of my best friends. He’s been awesome. I roped with him in college and we’ve been doing so far so good in the circuit. Hopefully, we can keep that up and make the circuit finals.
JL: How do you balance work, school and ProRodeo?
CB: I’m graduated now, but I would practice before and after school. I would usually tie before school and have team practice after school. Doing it alone, testing yourself when nobody’s around, is something that’s kind of really helped me progress. I guess the way you could put it is you tie, you tie, you tie, and you get tired, and you keep tying. Nobody sees that, which is fine, but I felt like those were the mornings that made me progress the most. School-wise, when you had time, extra free time, you were doing your schoolwork and once you finished your schoolwork, you were helping yourself improve in rodeo.
JL: Who has made the biggest impact on your roping?
CB: First, my dad. He has provided me with lots of opportunities. I’ll never be able to thank him enough. We got a family ranch and it’s busy. He could always use the help, but he has granted me the opportunity to go to Montana and rodeo. The opportunity to get away from home was huge for me.
Seth Hopper also comes to mind. He’s in Hermiston, Oregon. In the last three years, he has helped me a lot. I bought a horse from him, which was how we got started. I go down there a couple times a year to tune-up, and it’s all about fixing the little things that don’t get noticed, but in the long run, they make up time. Getting Seth’s help and buying the horse from him was a huge step forward for me. I can’t thank him enough.
Another guy I look up to a lot is Gabe Richardson. Gabe helped me get starting started in the steer roping. I remember the first practice, I didn’t catch many, and then I knew I had stuff to work on. But I’ve made the circuit finals the last three years. Helping me get started and getting my horse trained with his help was something special.
JL: Tell me about the horses you’ve been riding.
CB: I’ve been fortunate enough to have nice horses. That’s one thing my dad always tried to do was put us on good horses. We might not have always had the nicest rig to get to the rodeo, but when we got there, what we unloaded was huge for us.
I ride a calf horse by the name of Hefty. I’ve had him for two years now. He just turned 13. He loves his job. He never wants to disappoint. He is always trying his hardest. He fits my style and we get along super well. Once I got Hefty, he just stepped me up to a whole new level. I’ve taken him everywhere. I rode him the last three years at all the ProRodeos. He got me the Circuit Championship, he got me two College Championships, and I qualified for the RAM Finals this year.
In the heading, I have a horse by the name of Whit. I’ve had him a couple of years now. It’s kind of a funny story how we got him. We had some Longhorn cows that kept getting out of the pasture and our horse shoer was a ProRodeo guy by the name of Coby Jones. He got so busy horseshoeing we traded Longhorn cows for the head horse I’m on now. He’s been outstanding. I head on him, my sister heels on him, and actually, Teegan’s horse got hurt so he heeled on him at college rodeos. We can’t thank him enough for all he does for us. It was kind of funny how we ended up with him but super happy we did.
Then the last horse that’s helping me towards the All-Around, I call him Yeller. We ranch started him. A bunch of the hired hands rode him. They would doctor cattle on him. Gabe took the horse for a couple of weeks and that’s when I started steer roping. That was probably four or five years ago. So he’s another one that I’ve had and I don’t think I could ever get rid of no matter what. He’s just one of those that I will keep around forever.
So, those are my main three, and I’ve also been blessed with some backups too.
JL: Where are you entered next?
CB: Big Fork, bounce over to Cheney, then bounce back to Drummond, then we head down to Colorado for the RAM Finals (NFR Open in Colorado Springs).
Resistol Rookie All-Around Standings:
- Caleb Berquist, LaCrosse, WA – $12,018.65
- Cody Stewart, Red Bluff, CA – $10,731.06
- Brandt Ross, Sheridan, WY – $7,461.05
- Bodie Mattson, Sturgis, SD – $6,679.36
- Logan Currie, Wharton, TX – $5,977.07
- Austin Madison, Onawa, IA – $2,702.44
- Landonias Sivertsen, Ree Heights, SD – $2,569.47
- Zane Munoz, Gallup, NM – $2,243.21
- Shannon Warren, Marshall, MO – $1,564.72
- Tyler Pitman, Broadalbin, NY – $1,112.06