Evan Corzatt’s recent ninth-place finish in tie-down at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Nebraska could be called a family affair.
Evan and his parents, Ryan and Christie Corzatt, still live on the same Leesburg area family farm Evan’s grandfather, Eddie Corzatt, moved to in the 1940s. Eddie, his son Bob, Ryan, and Evan and his three siblings — older brother Brayden, older sister Brooke, and younger sister Isla, have all be involved in rodeos.
“Rodeo is a great sport we can all do as a family,” Ryan Corzatt said. “Everybody supports each other and other families, and they all stand for the national anthem and say a pray before each rodeo, too.”
Evan, a 15-year-old who will be a sophomore at Fairfield High School this year, started doing ground roping events when he was about 4.
This year he was the tie-down state champion in the high school division with the Ohio High School Rodeo Association, qualifying him for a spot in the national finals where he competed against about 170 kids in his age group. His competition came from Canada, Australia, Mexico and all over the United States.
At the national event there are two rounds with each competitor getting two runs. The top 20 qualifiers from those two rounds move on to the finals, or “short round,” where they get one more run. Evan was in 16th place heading into the short round. In that round he recorded the seventh fastest time at 10.74 seconds, which bumped him up to ninth place in the world.
And since he was competing as a freshman this year, he has three more years to go.
The top 10 finishers received a trophy buckle with the words “World Finals Top 10” and the National High School Finals Rodeo emblem on it, plus a small college scholarship.
“It’s pretty special. There’s not many of them around, especially in this area of the country,” Evan’s father said.
Even was quite so impressed.
“I went up to him and told how incredible it was what he had done, and his response was that eight beat him,” Ryan said. “But that was his mindset. He wanted to be No. 1.”
Tie-down is where the competitor starts in a chute and a calf gets a 12- to 16-foot head start. The competitor has to rope the calf, dismount his horse, put the calf to the ground, tie three of the calf’s legs together, then throw up his hands to stop the clock.
“Our family has always done tie-down or team roping but tie-down has just been a family favorite. I guess over the years that’s what we’ve practiced and competed in the most,” Ryan said.
Evan’s older brother earned a college scholarship in Oklahoma for his rodeo exploits and his younger sister is already making a name for herself in the junior circuits.
In addition to his ninth place finish at the nationals, Evan also won the overall Rookie of the Year Award in the Ohio High School Rodeo Association.
The family travels all over the country, from Texas to Oklahoma to Nebraska and more, competing and following their passion. The seasons starts in August and runs to June the following year.
When he’s not competing, Evan also trains other people’s horses for roping competitions.
“I hope to do it professionally and make a career out of it,” Evan said. “I just like the competition.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.