After a delayed start to the rodeo season, Cody Carlin and Jake Kirk are busy trekking across the Midwest.
Carlin, from Carthage, and Kirk, from Columbus, Kansas, compete together in various events during the summer.
Recently, the two competed in the Platte County Fair Rodeo on Wednesday, July 24 in Tracy, Missouri, and then headed to Iola, Kansas, two days later to take part in the Allen County Fair Rodeo.
In the latter, the two finished third place in calf roping.
The two have been roping together for a few years now and they will have a handful of events left, including the Missouri State Fair in August. Other events will be in Baxter Springs, Kansas; Girard, Kansas; Hume, Missouri; and Osceola, Missouri.
All told, there will be between 30-40 rodeos the duo attended this year.
This summer marks the 15th year for Carlin to be part of a rodeo circuit.
A native of Neosho and a 2008 graduate of Neosho High School, Carlin first started roping with his father, Kenny.
Carlin had a successful career as a youth in rodeo — advancing to the National High School Rodeo Finals — and that would lay the path for him to do the sport in college.
He landed at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami for his first two years out of high school. He went to Missouri State for a year, but ended up back NEO for a chance to rodeo again. He and his partner made the College Rodeo Finals.
Carlin ended up earning his education degree at Missouri Southern. He is currently a sixth-grade math teacher at the intermediate center in Carthage.
Now, he juggles rodeo and teaching. His trips across the Midwest will slow down some as the school year is about to begin again.
The Carlin/Kirk team has had success this summer.
They won a rodeo in Marshall with a time of 5.5 seconds. They placed at one in Holden as well.
The team got a late start after Carlin, 30, broke his arm after getting bucked off a colt earlier this year. That pushed a planned start from the spring back a few weeks and the two didn't compete for the first time until June.
They chose the Platte County Fair Rodeo, just north of the Kansas City International Airport, due to its connection with two circuits: the United Rodeo Association and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association.
With events in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska in those circuits, there are plenty of chances to earn points in the standings and money, but you have to place to earn money and points.
Carlin plans to rodeo as long as his body allows him, but might back off a bit next year as he and his wife, Olivia, plan to welcome a baby in January 2020.
The two have been married for three years.