Knez kids a powerful pair for Moffat County rodeo |

Knez kids a powerful pair for Moffat County rodeo

Chance Knez competes in team roping in June.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

Katie Jo and Chance Knez love a lot of the same things.

They both love horses. They both love rodeo. They both love family.

Neither Knez sibling can remember a time when they weren’t riding horses, and that goes for rodeo, too. And even Katie Jo, just three years the elder to little brother Chance, probably can’t remember a time without him around.

“I’ve never loved anything more (than rodeo),” Katie Jo, a sophomore on the Moffat County high school rodeo team. “It’s just so much fun. It’s something I love to wake up and go do everyday, and my dream is to be able to go to college and rodeo all summer long and all winter long. I don’t know how to explain it, but I live for it.”

Katie Jo Knez dismounts her horse on the approach for girls goat tying during the short go round of state finals for Colorado Junior High Rodeo Association.
Andy Bockelman / For the Craig Press

And there, in that comment, lies a key difference between the Knez kids. Chance, 12, says the following about his own lifelong passion:

“It’s just fun,” Chance, a seventh grader also competing with MCHS, said of rodeo. “It’s what I do.”

Though raised in the same house and the same rodeo life, first-born Knez Katie Jo has a confidence and poised talkativeness to her that belies her still young age. Chance, while perfectly genteel, is self-described as a bit more shy, and is a young man of far fewer words.

But both exude an earnestness about them, and both are dang good at what they do in the rodeo.

Katie Jo, who participates in goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing, has won at many levels. And she says she loves being with her brother and helping him along.

Chance, though, who competes in team roping, saddle bronc, steer riding, goat tying and breakaway roping, holds up his end of the bargain pretty well. Both are winners of plenty of hardware.

Chance admits it’s hard being the younger brother on some level, but says he’s been grateful to feel included and welcomed on the high school team despite being so young.

“It’s pretty fun to hang out with the older people,” he said. “And probably because she’s around, it’s easier.”

There are sibling squabbles from time to time. But there’s also a lot of fun to be had together.

“I love being there to support him,” Katie Jo said. “Every time he goes out for a breakaway run, I push his calf. I’m the sister, so I’m supposed to be there telling him what to do. And he yells at me and tells me what to do, and we’re there for each other. Bad runs, good runs. We fight sometimes about knowing what or who knows more.”

Chance concurs, if more succinctly.

“Sometimes,” he said, asked if it’s fun to be with Katie Jo and work with her. “Sometimes not.”

But there’s gratitude, too.

“If I forget something, she kind of just gets it,” Chance said.

Big sister has tips, and little brother said he’s usually receptive. But whatever it takes, there’s a lot of success coming from the effort.

“I think it’s the best thing in the world,” Katie Jo said. “All my family gets to come watch. It’s just great.”

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