Kane Kucera: All-around contestant from Iowa

After recovering from a broken leg in 2022, eighth-grader Kane Kucera of Traer, lowa, hopes to compete this summer at the NJHFR in chute dogging and tie-down roping. PHOTO COURTESY OF NHSRA TIMES MAGAZINE

Telegraph note: This story is republished with permission from National High School Rodeo Association Times Magazine. The original story was published in the NHSRA Times Feb. 2023 issue.

One day, the switch flipped, and Kane Kucera of Traer, Iowa, decided he wanted to try his hand at rodeo.

Although two of his four older sisters rodeoed and he’d been watching for them for years, he hadn’t had any interest. But at the end of 5th grade, he decided he wanted to compete. He wanted a crash course in everything rodeo.

So in his 6th-grade year, Kucera participated on the shooting team, plus he competed in chute dogging, breakaway roping, goat tying and ribbon roping. It was a big year of learning for the young cowboy.

“My sisters were doing it, and I guess it just kind of clicked with me at some point,” Kucera


said. “I thought I should give rodeo a whirl.”

He found a lot of success in light rifle shooting, winning the junior high state title and going to Nationals. Kucera enjoys hunting and shooting, so when he joined the NHSRA, it was an event he could easily add to his arsenal.

Last year, in his 7th-grade year, Kucera was helping his family with a rodeo that they put on during the spring season when a gate fell on his left leg during tear down. He broke his leg and ankle. No surgery was required, but he was in a cast and couldn’t put any weight on his leg for seven weeks.

“It was really boring!” Kucera said. “I learned to be careful and I don’t stand near gates very

often now!”

After the seven weeks, Kucera had a boot and one crutch for three weeks, then another two weeks of the boot before he was able to start getting back to rodeo.

And of course, the National Junior High Finals Rodeo happened during his recovery time, and he’d qualified again in the light rifle shooting.

His mom, Deanna, said they had to figure out what the rules were for Kucera to attend Nationals in the walking boot, but thankfully because he just had the single crutch and boot, they allowed him to compete.

Once the boot was off, Kucera said he got back to things pretty quickly.

“It felt okay. I had a really skinny leg and a regular leg, but at least it felt okay,” he noted. “The boot came off in July and I was working really hard, making sure the leg would hold up for calf roping and everything.”

Now in his 8th-grade year and healthy, Kucera said his goal is to make Nationals in chute dogging and tie-down roping. He isn’t participating in shooting this year, choosing to concentrate on the other rodeo events right now.

“I like rodeo because no one else does it in my school, and it’s a very active sport,” Kucera said. “I also play football and wrestle and do track in the spring, and with my friends we’re outdoor guys if the weather is good.”