Dairy Background Helps Steer Wrestler Succeed
Chisum Docheff knew all about hard work when he took up steer wrestling at 15 because he grew up on a dairy farm feeding and caring for calves and doing odd jobs.
“It taught me to work hard,” Docheff says. “Dad always had little jobs for us to do on the dairy – ones that a kid could figure out and I could do by myself.”
That work ethic is important in dairy farming and rodeo – Docheff says neither is like a 9 to 5 job, where the clock dictates when you’re done for the day. You finish the job – whether it’s helping a cow give birth or getting to the next rodeo event – regardless of how tired or hot you are.
Docheff had to work hard to catch up to his peers in rodeo, many who started in the sport at 7 or 8 years old.
“I got kind of a late start compared to some of my friends,” Docheff explains. “But I think it was good because when you’re young you end up doing it because your parents want you to and I was older, so I did it because I wanted to.”
No one else in the family does rodeo, but Docheff was always intrigued with the sport and says that starting older meant he was more mentally mature and because he hasn’t been in it as long, he still has a passion for it.
“Starting younger almost gets you burned out on it,” Docheff said. “I’ve still got the fire in me.”
And steer wrestling requires fire – the event begins with a horse-mounted rider chasing a steer, dropping off the horse to grab the steer and pulling it to the ground. To compete in the event, Docheff has two horses – one that he rides for the event, called a bulldogger and one that runs alongside the steer to keep it in a straight line called the hazer. Just like dairy cows, these horses are well cared for.
“All my horses have gel boots they wear in the trailer and magnetic blankets to keep their blood flowing,” Docheff says. “They have a very planned-out diet and if they act even a little sore, I take them to the vet to make sure they’re alright. They are truly a huge asset and big part of my livelihood.”
Docheff, who still works on his family’s dairy farm, cares for the dairy cows and the steers in steer wrestling in similar ways. Regimented diets planned by a dairy cow nutritionist, regular vet visits and lots of attention to happiness and comfort.
“That’s our main job – making sure the cow’s happy and the cow’s comfortable,” Docheff explains. “That’s gonna pay off because they’ll keep producing a lot of milk!”
Docheff and his brother monitor herd health at the dairy and Docheff does all the hoof trimming. When he’s away at a rodeo, his brother and dad are able to take care of things at the dairy.
This year, Docheff won the average at the Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals and was second in the year-end. He is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). You can read more about his family’s legacy of dairy farming here.