Rodeos have become a way of life for South Dakota family

CHAMBERLAIN -- Before they could even walk, Jim and Sholi Glauses' four children have been on horses and they've rarely gotten off. Tate, 23; Teil, 22; Savanna, 21; and Moriah, 20; are the fourth generation of the Glaus family to grow up on its a...

Teil Glaus, left, works as the hazer for Justin Boll, of Hartford, during the Winner Elks Benefit Rodeo on Saturday, July 23 in Winner. Teil said he did a really bad job at this rodeo and felt bad for Boll. "Usually I do it pretty good. Like I have never missed a haze or nothing and in Winner I missed it and felt really bad. That’s a lot of it, if the steer isn’t running straight that person isn't going to have a good go." (Matt Gade/Republic)

CHAMBERLAIN - Before they could even walk, Jim and Sholi Glauses' four children have been on horses and they've rarely gotten off.

Tate, 23; Teil, 22; Savanna, 21; and Moriah, 20; are the fourth generation of the Glaus family to grow up on its angus ranch, located just south of Chamberlain.

And for as long as they can remember, they've been riding and competing in rodeos.

While Tate has declared himself "retired" from competing in rodeos, his other three siblings are still going strong and don't have plans of slowing down.

All four attended South Dakota State University and been members of the SDSU Rodeo Team. While Tate and Teil have graduated, Savanna and Moriah having one and two years left until graduation.


'It started with mom and dad'

Growing up on the family's ranch, Jim was the only boy of four kids. He found a passion for roping during his time at SDSU, but it wasn't until afterward he really got into the sport.

"There was actually nobody in my family that rodeoed before," he said. "Went to college, worked for a guy, they had a barn and they trained rope horses. Got to the point where I'd rope a little, got better over the four years of college up there and started doing it."

For Jim's dad, John, competing in rodeos didn't make sense but that probably came from growing up in a different time.

Jim said technological improvements, including tractor combines, made it easier for him to find the time compete in the rodeos.

Though, there is always work to be done.

He typically competed close to home and was back to work the first thing in the morning. But when he traveled longer distances, he recalled days when he got only two to three hours of sleep to be back to work.

For Jim, roping made the most sense as he didn't want to beat up his body trying something like bringing down a steer or riding a bucking horse or bull.


"Oh, heck no. If it was dangerous, I just didn't do it," he said

Jim competed in rodeos for several organizations including the South Dakota Rodeo Association, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Mid-States Rodeo Association and many jackpots.

Sholi grew up just a mile up the road from Jim. Sholi was the only one of her siblings to compete in rodeos, doing barrel races and goat tying. For the rest of her family, they were more into showing horses.

While after high school Sholi attended SDSU and was on the rodeo team, she didn't expect to come back to Chamberlain.

"I wanted to go somewhere where it was really warm. When I left home, I was never coming back and I got one mile from my mailbox," she said about marrying Jim.

Once they started having children, Sholi gave up competing in rodeos, but she still competed in jackpots, or barrel racing events, around the area.

"I loved watching them compete," she said, referring to her children. "I'd much rather watch them compete. That's kind of why I stopped, didn't rodeo. It was more fun to haul them and watch them. For a lot of years, I'd joke I'd only go to 4 or 5 barrel races a year, but you ride all the time."

'The kids grow up'


For as long as the kids can remember, they have been riding horses.

"They started riding probably before they were 1 in front of the saddle with us. Then by the time they could sit on the horse by themselves, they were around 2. Then we'd lead them. Then by the time they were 3, they were kind of riding by themselves," Sholi said.

Comfort was the most important consideration to riding early, Sholi said.

They all started out in youth rodeos and competing in mutton bustin' before moving up to 4-H rodeos then onto the junior high rodeos and high school.

Jim and Sholi served as the kids' primary coaches growing up, with Jim teaching the roping part and Sholi teaching the girls about the barrels and goat tying.

"I don't know if I've ever seen my mom swing a rope ever," Teil said during an afternoon lunch at the family's ranch. "I don't think I've seen her pick one up."

"Oh, I pick them up all the time," Sholi responded with a laugh. "But I don't swing them."

At the junior high level, Tate, Teil and Moriah all qualified for nationals in Gallup, New Mexico.


While not getting to compete, Savanna said it made her want to improve in rodeo for the future. During the trip, she enjoyed meeting people and especially leaving South Dakota.

"It was pretty fun getting to meet people from all over the world. We never got to leave the state." she said.

A sentiment Moriah shares.

"Made a lot of our friends that we probably wouldn't have known without that," she said.

In junior high, Tate and Teil started "chute dogging," each winning the event at the state junior high rodeo. Chute dogging is similar to steer wrestling, but the competitor starts the event in a chute with the steer as opposed to on horseback.

In high school, Tate and Teil started steer wrestling and Teil also did some bull riding before deciding to focus just on the steer wrestling.

"Got hurt enough times, I got smart and quit," Teil said. "I've got hurt enough times 'bulldogging' (steer wrestling) too, but I think I might keep doing that one."

Even the whole time the kids were competing in rodeos, they all played sports in school and balanced work on the ranch along with their schoolwork.


Sholi described herself as the kids' personal athletic director.

Eventually the girls grew out of the goat tying event at rodeos, even though it was mom's favorite event.

Savanna suffered an ankle injury before her senior year and eventually found out she had torn every ligament in her ankle, which ended her goat-tying days. Moriah just really disliked the event.

"I told her to finish out the year and she ended up finishing one place out of making state, and while most kids want to make state she was scared she almost did," Sholi said. "That's how much she didn't like it."

No matter the event in rodeos, injuries come with the territory, something the Glaus family doesn't worry about.

From broken bones, torn ligaments and even animals stepping on them.

For Teil especially, he's had his share of injuries from a bull stepping on his foot and needing stitches, to a bull's horn in his arm.

'The sport'


A rodeo consists of multiple events that typically include bull riding, steer wrestling, a variety of roping both individual and teams, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, goat tying and barrel racing.

No matter what the event is, the Glauses say the biggest key is not overthinking.

"A lot of it's mental," Jim said. "I keep telling the kids, once you get up to the collegiate level, an awful lot of it's mental. They don't agree with me I know, they can talk themselves into or out of a good run. All of a sudden they don't have a good run, and holy buckets you can't do this anymore."

While they may not admit it to dad, the kids agree.

In team events, they can't be too critical when one has a bad run.

"All you can do is your part. As long as you're doing your part, you feel bad when you mess up but the header catches or the header misses, hey that happens. But you feel just as bad if you miss when you're healing," Jim said. "Nobody ever's going to miss on purpose."

In steer wrestling that partner is called "the hazer," a rider who guides the cow in a straight line after being pushed out from the chute. You don't want come out to fast and break the box or over run the cow, and you don't want to come out too slow and not be able to catch it.

"That's a lot of it. If the steer isn't running straight that person isn't going to have a good go," Teil said. "That's pretty important to have a good hazer and I've been pretty lucky, I've always had a really good hazer to rely on in college."

'Not slowing down'

To close out his collegiate career, Teil enjoyed what he loves most, competing in rodeo, this one held in Dickinson, N.D.

The rodeo landed on the same day of SDSU's graduation commencement ceremony, which Teil isn't too upset about missing.

"It's all right. I would've rather been at a rodeo than having to sit through all of that anyway," he said.

"I wanted him to walk, though," Sholi responded with a smile.

While trying to balance school work, social life and rodeos in college, Teil, Savanna and Moriah are quick to say everything else takes a back seat to the rodeos.

"All the time you've got to put in. You have to say no to a lot of things in order to be able to do it," Savanna said.

While competing in South Dakota has racked up miles, in college they travel across much of the north central part of the country from Montana to Kansas to Wisconsin for collegiate rodeos.

"We're going all over the place," Teil said. "Just for college rodeo, I think it's about 10,000 miles a year."

Teil said the highlight of his collegiate career came when he won his final steer wrestling competition in April at home in Brookings.

During the summer, Savanna and Moriah have been competing in SDRA rodeos alongside Teil, while Teil has also made the move up to the PRCA level with rodeos that included Mitchell's Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo in July.

"It seems like I should be able to go to more, especially in the winter time, now that I don't have any college rodeos," Teil said, who's returned home to work on the ranch since graduating.

Following graduation, Moriah and Savanna both said they both plan on competing after college.

"First of all I've got to see where I can get a job," said Savanna who's majoring in animal science like her brothers did. "Most likely I'll come back here. I hope to (keep competing), I've got plenty of horses to keep using."

During their time at SDSU, the Glauses have found a wealth of knowledge from their teammates and coaches.

"Obviously our dad has taught us a lot of things growing up, but I also like having other riders and coaches who might see things or notice things that dad might not," said Moriah, who plans on becoming a teacher after college.

"The ones I really learned from when I got to college, there were a bunch of steer wrestlers that were all older me so they really helped me out," Teil said. "They did a lot better than me and I always want to do really well. So that was really awesome, was always grateful for those guys."

For Savanna while she's still looking to move up in the standings and make a run for the SDRA finals, her biggest challenge this summer is trying to convince her dad to come out of retirement and do mixed team roping with her.

"God, I want him to," Savanna said. "I wish he would. He says he's retired, so I guess not."

"Nah, probably not," Jim replied when asked about competing again. "Never say never, though."

The kids were able to convince Sholi to start competing in rodeos again.

"I just said I was going to come back since it had been a quarter of century since I had entered a rodeo," said Sholi, who had still competed in jackpots through the South Dakota Barrel and National Barrel Horse Association. "Competing with the kids, it was kind of fun."

Moriah signed her up without telling her.

"She needs to be going out there. She's got good horses, rides all the time and just needs to be out there. So I just took the initiative.

"We all thought it was pretty awesome. She was pretty nervous, but it was cool to watch," Moriah said.

Now, signing up dad without telling him is something nobody thinks would be a good idea.

Photographer for the Mitchell Republic. Contact:
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