Father And Son Duo Coming To A Rodeo Near You

Chad Gukenberger is from Marshfield Wisconsin, like many people here in Wisconsin he works a job in manufacturing and in his free time spends time with his family and children. But what is unique is that much of that free time is spent traveling to rodeos where Chad competes in team roping. The event requires two cowboys to ride their horses into the arena chasing a calf. One partner throws a rope to catch the head of the calf, that job is called being a Header, and that’s what Chad does. The other part of the team then attempts to rope the calf’s back feet, that’s called being a heeler. And when Chad’s heeler ropes the calf, Chad not only celebrates a good score but also gets to cheer on Justin, his 19 year old son who is on the other end of that rope. 

Rodeo has always been a family affair for the Gukenberger family. Chad says that he got his start as a young kid with his grandparents going to the Little Britches Rodeos around the state. He went on to the Wisconsin High School Rodeo Association, even making it into the national finals all four years of high school. From there he joined the rodeo team from Fort Scott, Kansas to compete at the college level. That path lead Chad to take on competing at the highest level and enter into Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) sponsored rodeos. But competing at that level isn’t as simple as just showing up. Rookies must apply for a permit and win a set amount of money in order to become official members of the PRCA. 

The love of rodeo carried on to the next generation and Chad’s son Justin is now getting ready to finish high school and take a try at filling his PRCA permit. The father and son team plan to travel to 15 rodeos this year to compete in the team roping event. However Chad says at some point he may have to let his partner head to rodeos to rope with others while he stays at home, in order for his son to have enough winnings to fill the permit requirements. 

Both Chad and Justin are big supporters of all the levels of rodeo here in Wisconsin. They encourage people to get out and watch the rodeos around our state. When I asked the duo their favorite rodeos, Justin gave a shout out to the High School Rodeo coming up in early May in Tomah. Chad says the High School Finals in Richland Center in June is his favorite because it combines rodeo with the fun of high school sporting events. To find a rodeo in your area, check the schedules for the Little Britches of Wisconsin, Wisconsin High School Rodeo, and Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.