Meet Sponsored Rider: Zane Kilgus
Rodeo is not just a part of Zane Kilgus’ life, it’s in his blood. From his parents meeting at a rodeo, to the words “finals qualifier” and “champion” being common titles in their family, Zane is following in their footsteps to Rodeo greatness. At age fourteen, Zane already has an impressive resume with a National Junior High School Rodeo Association (NJHSRA) Rookie Reserve All-Around Champion for 2015 title at the top. Also on his resume from last year, Zane finished in the top 10 in the nation in tie-down calf roping and goat tying, he also claimed 14th in chute dogging at Finals. “My practice, hard work and dedication, along with guidance and support from family have allowed me to reach this level.” With older brother, Zach, leading the way with a First Frontier Circuit Triple Crown Win and multiple other qualifications, Zane has plenty of family support to help him achieve more titles in the future.
Finishing up his 8th grade year at Warrior Run Middle School in Watsontown, Pennsylvania, Zane has a long list of rodeo events he competes in throughout the year. Calf roping, ribbon roping, team roping, goat tying, chute dogging, and if that was not enough, he most recently added saddle bronc steer riding. “My favorite event is tie-down calf roping. I’m currently riding a twelve year old Bay Roan AQHA Mare [named] Jewel. [She’s] high energy like myself!” High energy indeed with all of those events! Zane’s competitiveness does not stop in the rodeo arena as you will find he is quite a good defensive end in football, which happens to be his favorite sport, a member of the wrestling team, and during baseball season he can be found on the pitcher’s mound or on third base. Although it’s hard to imagine Zane sitting still, when he does have free time he really enjoys goose and duck hunting. Even with all of these other sports and hobbies, Zane still finds time to devote to practicing for the rodeo every week. “[I] start my day doing chores, eat breakfast, then head outside to saddle and ride horses…I try to rope on one horse before school. When I have football, wrestling or baseball practice, I will rope before or after those practices. I try to practice every day.” Zane has been on a horse since he was just three years old and started competing when he was only four. His dad, Ned, a multiple Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) First Frontier Circuit finals qualifier, trains calf roping horses and has provided all of Zane’s calf horses throughout the years. The Kilgus family has spent countless hours in the practice pen, in the arena competing, and taking care of horses. It comes as no surprise that in the future Zane sees himself possibly attending farrier school. Further down the road, Zane dreams of living out west and owning a cow/calf operation where he’ll be able to put all of his roping skills to good use. For now, Zane keeps his goals to improving his standings within the American Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) where he already holds the record as the youngest competitor to compete at the American Finals Rodeo (AFR). During the school year, Zane competes in rodeos all around Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia with the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association (PHSRA). The PHSRA was established in 1990 for kids in the 9th-12th grade. They focus on promoting high standards of academia and sportsmanship as well as keeping the western heritage alive in Pennsylvania. I could not pick a better person to be a member of their organization. Ropes for Less is so proud that we get to be a part of this competitive young man’s rodeo career. Ride on, Zane, and keep up that Kilgus Family Legacy!
Written by Kara Grimes
- Burge Linton