Kyle Whitaker earns his record sixth Linderman Award | TSLN.com

Kyle Whitaker earns his record sixth Linderman Award

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – When Kyle Whitaker first started in ProRodeo, he wasn’t sure if he’d “ever be good enough” to win a Linderman Award. He grew up watching his dad, Chip, do it four times. So, he knew well the level of skill and dedication required to be proficient in three events at both ends of the arena. He knew about the travel, the three entry fees per rodeo and the time away from family.

Not even winning a record six of his own has altered his sense of wonder about the Linderman. Whoever wins it can be considered the greatest all-round hand in ProRodeo, the cowboy who emphasizes versatility in a highly-specialized age of the sport, who has a deeper connection to its roots and origins.

“It means more to me than a lot of guys,” Whitaker said. “When I was a kid, everywhere my dad competed, they introduced him as the Linderman Award winner. From a young age, I’ve known the history of it. The award was always something I had in mind that I wanted to win.

“It seems like there aren’t a lot of people who have a real awareness of what it means. It is my goal every year to qualify for it and win it. I’ve done it (qualified) every year since 1997, so that’s 15 rodeo seasons. I take real pride in that.”

In winning his sixth Linderman Award in 2011 – his first in five years – Whitaker had total earnings of $34,571 in steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping.

The award guidelines require that a cowboy earn at least $1,000 in each of three events and those events must include at least one roughstock and one timed event. Whitaker, of Chambers, NE, had more than $4,500 in all three of his events, with steer wrestling ($22,912) providing the biggest boost to his standing.

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“Ten years ago, saddle bronc riding was more my main event,” Whitaker said, “but now I kind of limit the bronc riding to my (Great Lakes) circuit rodeos. I took a little different approach this season. I had kind of a bad winter season, so I decided to go mostly to circuit rodeos and stay closer to home to get ready for the baby (he and wife, Halie, had their third daughter, Whitney, on Sept. 29).

“July and August were pretty good to me. I had a good rodeo at Dodge City (KS, where he finished second in the steer wrestling average), which made me wonder if I should have gone to a few more big rodeos. But when you are working three events, you can still make pretty good money at circuit rodeos without all the expense of traveling (great distances). Now that I’ve got three daughters … that’s a big responsibility.”

The hallmark of Whitaker’s career has been consistency. From 2002-11, his earnings have ranged from $47,527 to $34,571. He has career earnings of $546,681, with more than $100,000 in all three of his events.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – When Kyle Whitaker first started in ProRodeo, he wasn’t sure if he’d “ever be good enough” to win a Linderman Award. He grew up watching his dad, Chip, do it four times. So, he knew well the level of skill and dedication required to be proficient in three events at both ends of the arena. He knew about the travel, the three entry fees per rodeo and the time away from family.

Not even winning a record six of his own has altered his sense of wonder about the Linderman. Whoever wins it can be considered the greatest all-round hand in ProRodeo, the cowboy who emphasizes versatility in a highly-specialized age of the sport, who has a deeper connection to its roots and origins.

“It means more to me than a lot of guys,” Whitaker said. “When I was a kid, everywhere my dad competed, they introduced him as the Linderman Award winner. From a young age, I’ve known the history of it. The award was always something I had in mind that I wanted to win.

“It seems like there aren’t a lot of people who have a real awareness of what it means. It is my goal every year to qualify for it and win it. I’ve done it (qualified) every year since 1997, so that’s 15 rodeo seasons. I take real pride in that.”

In winning his sixth Linderman Award in 2011 – his first in five years – Whitaker had total earnings of $34,571 in steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping.

The award guidelines require that a cowboy earn at least $1,000 in each of three events and those events must include at least one roughstock and one timed event. Whitaker, of Chambers, NE, had more than $4,500 in all three of his events, with steer wrestling ($22,912) providing the biggest boost to his standing.

“Ten years ago, saddle bronc riding was more my main event,” Whitaker said, “but now I kind of limit the bronc riding to my (Great Lakes) circuit rodeos. I took a little different approach this season. I had kind of a bad winter season, so I decided to go mostly to circuit rodeos and stay closer to home to get ready for the baby (he and wife, Halie, had their third daughter, Whitney, on Sept. 29).

“July and August were pretty good to me. I had a good rodeo at Dodge City (KS, where he finished second in the steer wrestling average), which made me wonder if I should have gone to a few more big rodeos. But when you are working three events, you can still make pretty good money at circuit rodeos without all the expense of traveling (great distances). Now that I’ve got three daughters … that’s a big responsibility.”

The hallmark of Whitaker’s career has been consistency. From 2002-11, his earnings have ranged from $47,527 to $34,571. He has career earnings of $546,681, with more than $100,000 in all three of his events.

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