Tony Kraft: Not His First Rodeo


Photo by Abby Kraft

Joel Sikora, Staff

Since the launch of BVU’s Ag Institute in 2019, students have been provided with new opportunities to engage with things both inside and outside their field of study. This has created new opportunities for others as well, including Tony Kraft, when becoming BVU’s assistant rodeo coach.  

Rodeo is something Kraft has been doing for most of his life: “I started riding sheep when I was four years old; I started riding steers when I was seven years old and started riding bulls when I was eleven years old.” It became what he did for a living until he was 28 — when it all seemingly came to an end.  

“I broke every bone in my face, basically … and my kids didn’t want me to do it anymore, so I hung it up.” While Kraft stopped riding, he never left the rodeo life entirely, taking on roles such as judging or serving on the board of a rodeo association. In 2014, with his family’s encouragement, Kraft took another shot at riding. Following a promising performance in the practice pen, Kraft decided to enter six bull riding competitions, winning five. Again, he made the decision to step away from riding.  

When presented with the chance of becoming the assistant coach for the rodeo team, Kraft jumped at the idea. “That’s my passion and, pretty much, my life … so it was kind of like a job that anyone would want,” Kraft said.  

As an extracurricular, rodeo can be a great learning experience for students. Dylan Reimer, a junior majoring in Ag Business, has been a member of the BVU rodeo program since last year. Reimer has learned a lot with the help of Kraft. “Right now, we’re working on a lot of horsemanship skills, roping, we’ve moved cattle, basically just everything to learn to become a better horseman,” Reimer said. “Not only do we learn how to rodeo, but it’s more of a character-building exercise, also.” 

With the season starting up at the end of March, any interested students are encouraged to get involved by contacting either Tony Kraft or Head Coach Marty Barnes. No experience is necessary to join the rodeo club. “It’s good to get kids involved that don’t know much about rodeo to try and grow the sport,” Kraft said. Reimer also agrees that it is great to be involved in: “The rodeo club is a great way to make friends. It’s awesome for getting out after school and just doing something you enjoy.” 

To sum up rodeo, Kraft offered: “It’s not just a sport … it’s a lifestyle.”