Petska brothers compete in team roping, have fun together
Walk the halls of Nebraska’s Ord High School, and you’re bound to run into a Petska boy.
Four Petska brothers stair-step through the high school classes: Orrin, 18, is a senior; Lathan, 17, is a junior; Flagan, 16, is a sophomore, and Macon, 15, is a freshman. Youngest brother Talon, age nine, rounds out the crew.
The four older boys are together a lot of the time: three of the four play basketball for the Ord Chants. Two of them run cross country, two run track, one is in FFA, three of them are in the school’s swing choir and all four Petskas are in choir class at the same time. They like to tease the teacher. “We give the teacher a bad time,” Lathan said. “The teacher is fun and we know we won’t get in big, big trouble.”
But the one event in which all four Petskas share a common love is high school rodeo. The four boys compete in the team roping, with Orrin partnering with Lathan, and Flagan partnering with Macon. Rodeo is something they can practice together at the family’s arena, and is something that appeals to the boys, who are competitive but help each other out. “When we all rope together, everybody’s giving each other pointers and helping each other out,” said Macon.
For Flagan, rodeo is something he does that makes him different from the other kids. “There’s only us boys and one other person in our school that rodeo. That’s one thing we can say we do that nobody else in our school does.”
New experiences don’t bother the boys. The three oldest have spent several weeks each summer on a commercial fishing boat off the coast of Alaska.
Rodeo has taught them how to work for what they want. “You have to work at it,” Orrin said. “Nobody can just go out and do it. It has taught me to man up and get it done.” Lathan agreed with his brother. “You have to work hard to get any good at it.”
And the boys have put in the work. For the first time, all four will qualify in the team roping for the high school finals rodeo in Hastings, NE, in June. They’ll travel there together as a family, the four of them plus brother Talon and parents Greg and Theresa, like they travel to most of their rodeos. Crowding seven people into one vehicle can be wearing, but the boys deal with it. “When you’re in a small place, you don’t want to say anything bad because you’ll have to stop on the road and duke it out,” said Lathan. “But we usually don’t do that. That’s kind of cave-mannish, so we stay away from that.”
Rodeo has provided her kids a new and rich experience, Theresa said. “It’s given them confidence, and it’s given them different friends to connect with as well.” And the boys love rodeo. “Even if you’ve had a bad day, and you’ve completely screwed up your (rodeo) run, you can still have a good time,” Orrin said. “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”
And that’s true for the Petska boys not only at rodeo, but in life.
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