BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
Steer wrestling is in Chase Black’s blood. His dad, Glen Black, also competed in steer wrestling. The Black Family grew up in Utah. Chase’s parents lived across the street from each other, and now Chase lives in a house built next to his paternal grandmother; it has a practice pen in back. Chase watched Glen compete until 1995, when Chase was five.
Now, Glen is his hazer, and rides across from Chase while he competes. It’s Glen’s job to drive the steer to a place where Chase can get to it. In the beginning, Chase rode what he calls “an old man horse,” which was well-trained when it came to steer wrestling. All he had to do was nod his head, and the horse knew exactly what to do. Glen taught and coached while Chase learned. Even though Glen is in the arena with Chase, he doesn’t always have the best view of his bulldogger son. He used to get in trouble for looking back and watching.
“I don’t think he’s quite as bad anymore,” Chase says. This may be on account of the big screen most rodeo stadiums have.
On the other hand, Chase’s mom, Gena Black, is also seeped in the rodeo community and has been involved with the Ogden Pioneer Day Rodeo committee for over 30 years. Gena is one of the Vice Chairs over special events, opening ceremonies, and hospitality. Because Chase was raised in and around this event and community, this Pioneer Days Rodeo “feels like a hometown rodeo” to Chase.
“Those are the ones you get the most nervous for,” he says. “We have a lot of friends here. I have a good cheering section.”
Today, Chase rides a bay horse named French Fry. The horse used to belong to Chase’s sister; she intended to barrel race on him. She did not get along with French Fry. He had the habit of dumping her before the second barrel. So, according to Chase, she actually started his bulldogging training. He found his calling in steer wrestling. While Chase rode his “old man horse,” French Fry trained alongside him as a haze horse. Now, they’ve been bulldogging together for the last four years. Their best time so far is 3.4 seconds.
“It just clicks for him,” Chase said. “I took the reject horse. He found his calling in the steer wrestling event.” Meanwhile, his sister’s name is still on French Fry’s papers, and she likes to tease Chase about needing mount money.
Even though Chase will be making a 45-minute drive down to the rodeo, he’s honored to be a part of his “hometown rodeo.” It’s a family affair.
“This year’s especially hard, ‘cause it’s the first year we don’t have Aunt Des (Desiree Larsen) with us,” Chase said. “I’ll be trying to do my best. I know she’ll be watching me. It’s going to be great to get to Ogden after we missed out last year. Better lucky than good.”