The Peper siblings compete in rodeo events across Oklahoma
Kelsey and Caleb Peper are sixth-generation cattle ranchers, but both are all about horses.
The siblings attend school in Adair, Okla. Kelsey is in her first year of FFA. She is 14 and in the eighth grade. Caleb is 16 and a high school sophomore.
Both Pepers have rodeo fever and the need for speed. Kelsey runs barrels and poles, but she competes in all events at the county horse show, which include flag race, barrels, pole bending, western horsemanship, western pleasure and a halter class.
“I have two horses of my own,” Kelsey said. “I was in 4-H horse shows before I got in FFA.”
She qualified for the district and state 4-H horse shows. She had a first place 4-D division win at the Better Barrel Races finals last year, collecting a $1,200 check.
Caleb is a tie-down calf roper and is also team roping in Oklahoma High School Association rodeos this year with partner Seth Best. Caleb is the header. He has already competed in OHSRA rodeos at Shawnee, Ardmore and Stigler, and at the Lazy E in Guthrie, Okla.
There are three horses in Caleb’s string, but he seems partial to his red roan calf roping mare. He qualified for the Indian National Finals Rodeo last year and the Mike Johnson Calf Roping this year.
Caleb competes on the electricity and farm shop teams in FFA, along with grading cattle.
“I don’t like to give reasons, but Dad says these teams are the guys who are going to work,” Caleb said.
His dad, Trent Peper, would know. He has been teaching diesel mechanics at Northeast Technology Center for 23 years. Caleb will be taking a class from his dad next year, but he’s had a jump start on the course work.
Beginning when he was 12 years old, Caleb started a long string of tractor driving wins at the county fair – five so far, to be exact.
It’s not surprising Caleb would win a tractor driving contest. This summer he and his dad put up 3,000 round bales, their own and custom, and 3,200 square bales of horse hay both for their horses and for selling. Caleb said the description of his summer days is “get up; get on the tractor.”
He runs all types of equipment, including various trucks up to and including 18-wheelers.
“Even though I’m not old enough to have a CDL, I can drive up to 150 miles for farm use, so I can deliver liquid feed and haul chicken litter (which the Pepers use for fertilizer).”
The family farm, known as The Peper Patch, is 1,100 acres. They use LimFlex and Limousin bulls on the mature commercial cows and Angus bulls on the first calf heifers. There are both spring and fall calf crops. When the calves are weaned, they are sold at local sale barns.
Pepers have an added value enterprise raising butcher calves. Approximately 20 calves are fed out to sell as half or whole processed beef.
Both Kelsey and Caleb work in all these operations, but it doesn’t keep them from having buck fever.
Caleb recently won first place in an Oklahoma youth hunt with a 9-point buck that weighed 228 pounds before he was field dressed. He won a shoulder mount from Jerad Langley, owner of Powderhorn Taxidermy in Bluejacket, Okla., and free processing from Tagged Out.
Kelsey already has her eye on a big buck and says she will catch up as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
Kathy Peper said she and Trent ask their kids to do a lot and they have many responsibilities. “We hope they will be responsible adults one day.”