Minot competitor soars through national rodeo ranks

Farm Forum

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Kindness, companionship and respect are three household values held by the Peterson family of Minot.

Seth Peterson is the proud son of Jerry and Shelly Peterson and looks forward to honoring the family name with a national rodeo championship in Gillette, Wyoming, and leading a productive career at the University of Wyoming.

“I’m going into mechanical engineering,” Seth told the Minot Daily News. “I want to get back to the agricultural side of things and maybe design horse trailers or arenas. I’m always drawing out sketches and I realize something is wrong and so I draw again to perfect the imperfection. It’s an ongoing process of finding out how to perfect things. Things can always be better. Any way I can stay involved in the rodeo will make me happy. A lot of the professional rodeo athletes are creating new ways to make the sport better. I want to be able to do the same and I want to give back to a sport that has given me so much.”

Before Seth saddles up, he reads the Bible and enjoys a round of freshly baked breakfast burritos and delicious muffins prepared by his mother Shelly Peterson.

“My mom makes some pretty good muffins.” Seth said. “She always makes sure there are muffins during those cold mornings at the rodeo. I can always rely on muffins and breakfast burritos from my mom. She also makes sure everyone else is fed and everyone always tells me how much they love her food.”

Aside from providing soul food, Seth turns to his mother for confidence and self-esteem.

“When I don’t do good she gives me a smile and makes sure I’m feeling good. She keeps me fed, she does all the behind the scenes and she makes sure that my happiness remains number one and I’m not too serious.”

Physically strong and entirely devoted to his family is Seth’s father Jerry Peterson, who loves supporting his family and seeing both his son and daughter takeover the rodeo circuit.

“My dad has always been there to push me hard and encourage me to do better,” Seth said. “He refused to never let me settle. He could always find ways I could do better and he taught me how to work hard and never ever quit.”

‘Till this day, Seth admires his father’s work ethic and strives to live up to expectations expressed by his dad.

“My dad still works harder than I do today,” Seth said. “As hard as he works, I always have what I need to succeed and he always gives me chances to be better and to get better.”

Brooke, Seth’s younger sister, continues to inspire his desire toward greatness and he’s thankful for her fiery desire to follow in his footsteps.

“It’s been pretty cool to help her out and teach her new things,” Seth said. “She makes me go back and look at myself and make sure I’m doing good things while setting an example for younger children. She’s fun, she’s accomplished a lot and she’s come a long way.”

Brooke qualified for the high school state final competition in both goat tying and barrel racing events held in North Dakota.

As a dancer, Brooke is a rising talent and a formidable volleyball contender.

“Both Brooke and Seth are very good at listening to each other,” Shelly said. “Brooke listens to him and takes his advice which is really nice. A lot of times siblings fight but Brooke and Seth are very good with each other.”

Since meeting his good friend T-Bone, Seth has matured into a more confident competitor and a stronger rider.

“Horses are athletes,” Shelly said. “Your horse will get you far, they have personality, they’re part of your family and they have quirks just like everybody else.”

T-Bone is a miracle horse who loves freedom and refuses to surrender against oncoming odds.

Before Seth and T-Bone started their historic ride, a car accident nearly took the life of the beloved T-Bone.

“I don’t know how fast the car was going but one day T-Bone got away and a car hit him,” Seth said. “He was T-boned and somehow he hasn’t showed any kind of health issues or anything.”

High strung and determined, T-Bone recovered and rode with Seth to several victories along with countless buckles.

“I’ve probably won close to $60,000 on T-Bone,” Seth said. “I’ve won four or five saddles with T-Bone and we’ve shared all sorts of great times.”

What binds Seth and T-Bone together is their love for competition, desire to be the best and the belief that hard work always overcomes talent.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Seth said. “There will always be others who are better than you but if you outwork them in every aspect, you’re going to beat them in some aspect. I may not be the most talented person but if I work harder than you I’ll probably beat you.”

To be a champion rodeo star, one must know a champion rodeo performer.

“He’s very high energy and always tries to do more,” Seth said. “He never wants to quit and that’s what makes us a good match. We both want more, we both try to give more and T-Bone will do anything you tell him to. I really like how high his energy is and how much he loves to run. His desire helps out a lot in every situation and he’s very intelligent. He can tell the difference between what is being done and what needs to be done.”

For over a decade, a yellow lab named Maddie has greeted every guest and welcomed the Petersons home.

“Maddie has been around for 12 years,” Jerry said. “She’s a good dog and she’s always glad to see us when we come home.”

Recently, Burt is the newest member of the Peterson clan.

“Burt is an up and coming horse,” Seth said. “We’re training him up and getting him ready for college.”

During infancy, Seth began a lifelong friendship with horses and displayed an uncanny prowess for roping.

“Before Seth could walk he was on a horse,” Jerry said. “When Seth was just a baby he carried a rope around and always wanted to play rodeo.”

Fascinated by the finesse of roping and inspired by the powerful grace of horses, Seth’s curiosity caught the attention of his mother Shelly.

“Seth would take his shoelaces and turn them into ropes,” Shelly said. “Rodeoing came naturally to Seth and he always had an interest for the sport.”

“I just remember always having a rope in my hand,” Seth said. “I remember riding horses when I was really little and everything came naturally. I was never afraid of horses and I always felt comfortable with them.”

At four years of age, Seth’s childhood passion spurred the start of a sensational rodeo career.

“When Seth was four years old, we bought him his very own horse,” Shelly said. “Blaze was the name of the horse because he had a white blaze running down his forehead.”

Blaze provided Seth a promising start in the youth rodeos by helping the Minot native earn his first career buckle.

“I was at the Velva Youth Rodeo when I won my first buckle,” Seth said. “It was for the all-around cowboy and it was a pretty cool feeling.”

After acquiring early success at the youth rodeos, Seth began riding Gambler and earned his first state championship at 11 years of age.

By the time Seth was 13 years old, his methodical approach and fearless physicality earned him two additional state championships. With the assistance of his third horse Cezar, Seth won the ribbon roping competition followed by the team roping event at the age of 13.

“Seeing Seth win was pretty exciting,” Jerry said. “It was a good level of achievement for him and it gave him confidence.”

With state championships in hand, Seth competed on the national stage and earned one top 10 finish along with two top 20 appearances before his 14th birthday.

“Buckles are a big motivation,” Shelly said. “Seth did it and he had to achieve them.”

As a competitor, Seth is calm, calculating and methodical.

“Each rodeo is different,” Seth said. “There are different setups, different cattle and differing weather conditions. You’ve got to go through and make sure you’ve prepared each step to your fullest extent. If you had a bad experience you have to look at yourself and find the problem that caused it. After that, make the corrections so it doesn’t happen again.”

Seth’s steely eyed approach to roping dazzles spectators while his shrewd aggression thrills the judges.

Armed with acute accuracy, sharp instincts and swift hands, Seth’s rope consistently finds its target.

During this transient clash of power, Seth springs from his speeding horse to wrestle a whopping steer to the ground. After a temporary tussle with the resistant steer, Seth completes the challenging task of tying his rope to the brawny legs of the uncompromising steer.

“Rodeoing is mathematical,” Shelly said. “There is a lot to evaluate and it’s important to pick things apart. The angle of the rope, the speed of the horse, the quickness of the steer and the speed in which you deliver the rope make a difference.”

In the rodeo world, life is dangerous and very unforgiving, every second matters and no action goes unnoticed.

“Nothing is ever the same at the rodeo,” Seth said. “There is a lot of reaction which requires muscle memory. For the muscles to react, that means you have to constantly practice and keep yourself prepared.”

Throughout the state of North Dakota and across the country, Seth’s ability to tie down steers has garnered respect from competitors along with the accolades of fans.

Since attending Minot High School, Seth has captured four state rodeo championships to go along with two top 10 appearances and one top 20 finish.

During this championship voyage, Seth has shared his journey with T-Bone and Roadmap.

“I’ve always tried to perfect everything that I do,” Seth said. “I’m always trying to be the best at everything that I do. I don’t do things just to do it. I want to be successful and I want to be at the top.”

While many dream about success, Seth chooses to work for his dreams.

“I don’t have dreams at night,” Seth said. “I’m living the dream and that’s why I don’t have dreams during the night. I always tell kids that you have to work hard, you have to want success and put in the time so you can be successful. Nobody is going to just hand you things. Success is not a once a day thing, you have to achieve it every day and you need to put everything you have inside you to be a success.”

While diligent work opens the doors, a resilient mindset conquers each obstacle that awaits potential champions.

“The kids today overlook the mental part of the rodeo,” Seth said. “Everything has a mental component and you have to see yourself doing everything right. You have to want that shot and you have to believe that you have what it takes to succeed. I pride myself on having a good mental game and being mentally confident and strong.”

The Petersons know that clouds are for the birds and work makes a dream come true.

“We don’t have a lot of time for fluff,” Jerry said. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right. Seth said it best: practice with a purpose and have a reason for everything that you do.”

“You’ve got to have confidence in yourself,” Seth said. “You can’t go through life thinking ‘oh boy, I hope this works.’ Confidence allows you to believe that you can win and confidence is what makes you successful.”