Stran Dunham — a rookie in the Junior High division of the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA), had his excitement for ropes and rodeo carved into him, thanks to his parents, Sheena and Kevin Dunham of Souris.
His mom was among the first high school rodeo competitors from Manitoba to cross over into Saskatchewan in the early 1990s, and made the team going to Oklahoma City to compete in the National High School Rodeo Finals.
“I’m very proud of my mom and dad, as they both have competed at high school, amateur and professional rodeos in their events of barrel racing, tie-down roping and team roping,” said Dunham. “Thanks to them rodeo is a blessing in which I have grown up around and now, as a Grade 7 student at Hartney, am able to compete in a number of boy’s events.”
Those events don’t only require a lariat (breakaway roping, ribbon roping and team roping), but also quick hands with goat tying being his favourite.
“At this level, striving to do my personal best, I find goat tying to be a lot of fun,” said Dunham. “Rodeo allows me the chance to hook up and compete with friends my own age.
“I have two favourite competitors — my dad, a past Canadian Cowboys Association champion and Tuf Cooper, a world champion tie-down roper,” said Dunham.
By watching his parents cherish the sport of rodeo, Dunham has come to realize that rodeo is more than an athletic event. It’s a show that allows camaraderie to be developed between participants, personal goals to be made and met, and a lifestyle that highlights an impression of the western heritage.
Education on roping and riding has come through his parents, but other points in life’s lessons and sports involvement come from teachers and coaches.
Dunham is an all-around athlete, involved in hockey, baseball and badminton. He is also an avid outdoor sportsman, involved in hunting, trapping, and fishing.