When it comes to pursuing their passions, the Whiteside Family runs nothing short of hard work, motivation and determination.
It’s all in the family for Travis and Dusti Whiteside. They are champions – making champions. Travis, a 12-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, Canadian Champion, season leader and multiple-time Calgary Stampede qualifier in the bareback riding, and his wife Dusti, who qualified for Nationals every year during high school, competing in cutting, breakaway roping, barrel racing, goat tying and pole bending, also receiving a scholarship from her successes, are now passing on knowledge to their own children – as well as many other children.
Travis and Dusti have two daughters, Kylie 13, and Bradi 11. Though these girls are still young, Kylie just coming into her teen years, and Bradi being four foot nothing – don’t think for a second that these two won’t out rope, or even out ride you. They were both pretty well riding before they could walk, and had a pretty good taste of rodeo early on in life.
Their mother, Dusti, is the founder of Small Spurs Rodeo. It is an organization specially for children 14 and under, started in 2007. When talking with Dusti about Small Spurs, she had started the program realizing that, there really was nothing for kids to get started in rodeo. As it has been one of her passions for several years, she also stated that it is important for kids to have something to do, where they can set a goal, achieve that goal, get to a rodeo, and stay out of trouble. With her prizes ranging from buckles to saddles, everyone gets a prize. Dusti is very grateful to all the sponsors that donate, allowing her to continue to run Small Spurs Rodeo, and make it a great, positive atmosphere for children, and everybody. Dusti even admits that running Small Spurs Rodeo has changed her as a person, and she is happy for that.
Both Kylie and Bradi got their start in Small Spurs Rodeo. Since starting rodeo, Kylie has had many accomplishments. Her bigger accomplishments include qualifying for Nationals in Gallup, New Mexico, Canadians, and even winning her first saddle in the all-around at 9-years-old.
Bradi, recently won the all-around title at the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association Finals, was the season leader in the pole bending, and was the youngest competitor qualifying in all of her events. She was also the Rookie of the Year in Junior High School Rodeo, and qualified for Nationals in Gallup, New Mexico, where she set the fast time in the pole bending, with a time of 20.1 to win first, as well as a 19.9 with a knocked pole, and still winning second.
For as young as these girls are, and the accomplishments they have to date, people may ask, “What makes them so good?”
Well, they all eat, sleep and breathe what they love. Recently, the girls have been getting home schooled. At first, Travis and Dusti were non-believers in the whole home schooling idea, but eventually they thought they would give it a try, and said so far, it has been great. Other than Travis said, “Kylie and Bradi are always hiding on me, and then I look out the window and see them riding bareback across the field on the young horses.”
The girls couldn’t be happier. They love that they have way more time to work with their horses, and pursue their passions. Ultimately, these two want to be great champions.
I have watched Kylie and Bradi grow, and ride over the years, and always could see how “handy” these two were going to be. My eyes were opened even more when Dusti started showing me videos. Things like, Kylie teaching her horse to rear up, then another video of her going around the barrels bareback and bridleless, and then both Kylie and Bradi had taught their horses to lie down within a day. It just goes to show how important “quality time” is.
Aside from being a rodeo family, I admire the personal values they share with their children, as well as with the children from Small Spurs:
- It is important to win.
- It is important to lose.
- You can never be a winner, until you have learned how to lose.
- Always congratulate people.
- Smile – even when you don’t feel like it.
- Be a humble winner, and a graceful loser.
- Don’t ever beat your horse up.
“If you don’t dream, it doesn’t happen. Everybody has to have dreams to be successful.” ~ Dusti Whiteside