HER FIRST LOVE: Goings family’s passion for rodeo passed on to WCHS junior

Tatum Goings spends fall, spring competing on high school circuit across the state

Tatum Goings, who will be a junior at Webster City High School this fall, hops off her horse during the Estherville rodeo in May. The 16-year-old has competed in the sport for a number of years. Lisa Zalaznik photo

WEBSTER CITY — Tatum Goings is a four-sport athlete, although that may be news to most people.

Basketball — check.

Track and field — check.

Softball — check.

What’s missing? Just her favorite sport of them all.

Tatum Goings corals the goat during the goat tying competition at the Osceola rodeo a year ago. Lisa Zalaznik photo

Rodeo is her passion and it’s been that way for as long as she can remember.

“I probably practice this more than any other sport,” Goings, a 16-year-old junior to be at Webster City High School, said. “I was probably three or four the first time I did it.”

It was Tatum’s mom, Angie, that began the bloodline in the ring. She first began riding horses when she was a young girl and eventually got into barrel racing. Angie continued to compete until she had kids and then left it in the capable hands of her husband, Bub, whom she met when both were in high school at Manson-Northwest Webster.

Through a multitude of injuries — a dislocated shoulder, a hip replacement and plenty of concussions, just to name a few — Bub rode bulls for 20 years and he continues to team rope to this day.

“He just started doing it with my mom and continued to do it,” Tatum said.

Tatum Goings navigates her horse, Frosty, around a barrel during the Iowa High School Rodeo Association event in Sidney this past April. Goings competes in barrel racing, goat tying and pole bending on the statewide circuit. Lisa Zalaznik photo

Being a daddy’s girl, Tatum was destined to join in on the family fun as well and she followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Emily, who is a member of the rodeo team at Iowa Central Community College.

Throughout August and September, and again next spring, Tatum will compete on the Iowa High School Rodeo Association circuit throughout the state. She’ll travel to Osceola, Moville, Larchwood, Fort Madison and Waterloo this fall. The state finals are scheduled for next June.

Tatum competes in three events — goat tying, pole bending and barrel racing.

In goat tying, competitors ride towards a tethered goat, dismount, catch, throw and then tie any of its three legs together for a score. A goat’s legs must remain tied for six seconds.

In pole bending, riders weave through a path of six poles in a timed event.

Tatum Goings competes in the pole bending competition at the Marshalltown rodeo in May. Lisa Zalaznik photo

In barrel racing, three barrels are set up in a cloverleaf pattern throughout the ring and riders again weave through the barriers in a timed event.

To prepare, Tatum says she spends countless hours with her horses Frosty, Oscar, Dingus and Allie at her Stratford home. Frosty, her horse for a little more than a year, is who she rides during competition and he takes care of her, she says.

“I don’t worry about injuries,” Tatum said. “I know I have good horses that will take care of me.”

Tatum admits that rodeo takes up quite a bit of her time, sometimes to the detriment of other sports.

“It definitely takes up a lot of time,” Tatum said. “It takes away from some of my other sports and that’s frustrating some of the time because a lot of people see it as more of a hobby rather than a sport. But it’s just like any other sport; if I failed a class, I wouldn’t be able to do it for 30 days.”

It’s not always easy to explain to her non-rodeo friends either.

“Most of them think it’s pretty strange just because they don’t know it,” she said. “But a lot of them like to come over to ride horses.”

Just like her parents, Tatum sees it as a sport that she’ll continue to compete in for a number of years. She’s already thinking about the college level, although she’d like to leave Iowa.

“I want to go south probably, somewhere like Texas or Arizona where it’s more common,” she said.

For now, she’ll work with her horses and continue to hone her goat tying technique as she prepares for her fall trek to various events.

“I just love it,” she said.