Anyone who has lived in the Cedar Vale vicinity is familiar with the name Magnus. Many of us went to school with one or more of the Magnus clan. Those who have not followed the sport of rodeo may not know that two former CV youngsters, are well known and highly regarded in the rodeo world, especially in the event of team roping. Not only a noted professional team roper, Tyler is a recognized TV personality. Tyler and Leah are the children of Larry Magnus class of 1957. Tyler if think, graduated from CV high, I'm, not sure about Leah.
For those who are not familiar with team roping, it is the only rodeo event where two individuals participate, thus the word team. It consists of a "header" who ropes the steer's horns, turns the steer to the left and the "heeler" comes in behind the steer and ropes the back feet. It is a timed event, with the lowest, fastest time the winner.
As I have alway wanted to be a cowboy, I have attended many of the major rodeos in the west and have subscribed to several rodeo and team roping publications. Knowing that Tyler was from CV and the son of a fellow schoolmate, I followed his rodeo career through these publications. I used to regularly attend the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. I think it was 1988, I was there and that was the first year that Tyler qualified for the national finals. To qualify for the "Big Show" he had to be one of the top fifteen money earners for the year in his event. As we both were from CV, I wanted to meet Tyler. I located him warming up his horse and introduced myself. Of course he had no idea who I was, but he was very gracious and talked to me, even though in a few minutes he would be performing before thousands of people and for some big money.
In the early 90's, I was living in California and had a general aviation business on the Monterey airport. Salinas was 15 miles from Monterey and recognized in the rodeo world as having one of the prestige's rodeos in the US. All of the top cowboys participated in the Salinas rodeo. A prized possession was to win and have a Salinas belt buckle. Because there are to many participates for them all to perorm in the four afternoon rodeo performances, they have what is referred to as "slack" in the mornings. Salinas's slack starts a 7 o'clock in the morning. The scores are official as if they had performed in the main rodeo performance.
I always attended the slack team roping. I meet several of the "team ropers" and since I was in the flying business, I would fly a load of them to Naampa, Idaho for them to participate that night in the Nampa rodeo. After the rodeo we would fly back to Salinas, arriving in the early morning hours, so they would be there for the slack that morning. That's the way those young rodeo guys lived. But this old man couldn't take that way of life very long. As I flew Tyler a few times, it gave me an opportunity to become more acquainted with him. Since then our paths have crossed several times, to the point I feel I can call him a friend.
As a youth, Tyler qualified for the high school and college national finals, as a "header". He switched to heeling and qualified for the national rodeo finals eight times, winning the average one-year. He has also won other major roping events, competing against the best ropers in the world. While he can still compete with the best, he has not "gone hard" competing in the rodeo circuit for several years. Married with children, Tyler has changed courses and has made a recognized name for himself, as a roping instructor and a noted horseman by his peers.
Sister Leah, an accomplished header and heeler herself, has been instrumental in videoing and producing a weekly, thirty-minute TV show, called "The Roping Show". The show has segments of various ropings around the country and "Tyler Tips", which features Tyler instruciing aspiring ropers on habndling a rope and on their horsemanship skills. It is shown on RFD-TV, and airs on Thursdays at noon and 10 p.m.(CST) and 1:30 p.m. Sundays. It is carried by Dish (ch231) and Direct TV (ch379) satellite networks and maybe cable channels also.
Tyler and Leah have a wonderful training facility, near Lampass, TX, with indoor arena, horse accommodations and hook ups for living quarter trailers. He gives private lessons, conducts roping schools and puts on roping events. I can testify to his expertise in being able to readily spot problems and his ability to explain in understandabe terms how to correct the roping or horse problem. A couple of years ago I went o his place in Texas and spent a few days roping with him. He helped me a great deal and I would love to go back again.
In my op[inion, Tyler and Leah are a credit to that little town in Kansas called Cedar Vale.