Craig It’s no accident that Kasen and Kinlie Brennise are so good in a rodeo arena. They’ve been working at it since they were able.
“At 3 years old, their dad and I would lead them through the barrels and stuff like that,” said Sheila Brennise, their mom. “Little Britches starts at 5, so that’s when they got involved on their own.”
While rodeo at age 5 looks quite different from a skill, speed and strength standpoint, it didn’t take long for either of the Brennises to figure out it was something they wanted to pursue seriously.
“I would say it was about when I was 7,” Kasen said. “I went for one year, and (Kinlie) wasn’t in it. Then we were both in it for a year. Then in the second year of that was when we got more competitive. We were competing for titles (in Little Britches) then.”
Kasen won his first Little Britches title at age 8 in barrel racing, and they’ve kept rolling in. Between the two of them, they now own 13 championships between the junior high and Little Britches circuits. Five of those came recently at the Junior High State Rodeo Championships, as Kasen won in team roping, tie-down roping and the all-around competition, while Kinlie was the barrel racing and breakaway roping champ, as well as reserve champ in the girls’ all-around.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Kasen said. “That’s the reason you put work in, to get some reward for it. So having something to show for it makes it worth it.”
They do put in tons of work. When they have a longer break between rodeos and don’t have to plan around traveling, Sheila said multiple-hour sessions in the morning and at night are common at the family’s arena.
“Their toughest days could be up to about eight hours a day, where they’ll spend three or four hours in the morning working on something and then three to four more at night on something else,” she said.
That’s what it takes in rodeo, where a state champion is crowned by the points they collect throughout the course of a season, not from one excellent individual effort. Consistency is as important as having quality rounds.
Trying to beat each other was their first motivation in rodeo, but that competitive spirit has carried over since they’ve entered new divisions.
“We push each other,” Kinlie said. “When we were competing against each other (during the early Little Britches years), we wanted to beat each other. But we still help each other out.”
The Brennises also have a pretty good coach on call 24 hours each day in their father, Scott. A Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association member, he’s been there every step of the way and gets a lot of the credit from his kids.
“He’s been our main guy in practice,” Kinlie said. “He’s helped us out a ton out here (in their arena). Mom usually works the chute, and he helps us with what we’re doing.”
Now, the Brennises set their sights on the Junior High National Finals, which begin June 22 in Des Moines, Iowa. The nationals are just one rodeo with three rounds, and points don’t carry over from any state competitions. With no weak competition there, the stakes are high for even reaching the short round, let alone placing.
Last season, Kasen took second in breakaway roping and was 10th in goat tying, while Kinlie did not make the short round at her first national rodeo. That sting is still fresh in her mind, while her brother is hoping to be better, as well.
“In your mind, you say (nationals) is just another rodeo, but you have to throw everything you’ve got out there each run,” he said. “You kind of think about where you ended up last year and set your goals higher. We both want to win.”
With almost 10 years of dedication to the sport, Kasen and Kinlie are prepared to win.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.