For Daxon and Texie Buttars, two Utah siblings, competing in cow horse runs in the family, but their winning ways are the result of hard work and focus.

Daxon and Texie Buttars
Daxon and Texie Buttars are keeping cow horse in the family, riding in the event that their father, Brandon, trains horses to compete. Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

When horse training is the family business, the trainer’s kids can follow one of two paths: ride or forgo all horse activities. For Daxon and Texie Buttars, the choice to ride, and ride hard, is creating quite a cow horse legacy. The two siblings, who both call Snowville, Utah, home, learned to ride under the expert eye of their father, cow horse trainer Brandon Buttars. Now they are adding their own accomplishments in the National High School Rodeo Association’s cow horse events and regional cow horse competitions to the family resume.

Today, Daxon,19, is pursuing his own rodeo and training dreams. Daxon grew up horseback. His first memories are of turning back cattle for his father. The young horseman spent weekdays with his mother in town, and weekends riding with his father. But by junior high school, Daxon had moved full time to the ranch to pursue riding.

“I had enough of town so I moved out here [with my dad] after school,” says Daxon. “I showed horses until I was about 10, but I had heck with the reining patterns. I would spin the wrong way or something! In 2015, I bought a 3-year-old that I wanted to show. That is when I decided I liked the showing again, and when cow horse was introduced to high school rodeo, I really went after it.”

With his focus fixed securely on becoming a better rider and competitor, Daxon became a multi-event high school rodeo competitor, roping and riding cow horse. Though he lives in Utah, Idaho’s rodeo association is closer for the Buttars to compete. He captured three Idaho High School Rodeo Association state champion cow horse titles before winning the nationals.

Daxon Buttars buffalo
Before heading off to her first NHSFR in Wyoming, Texie and her father, Brandon (shown above), worked her horses on a buffalo, to ensure that each mount would do its job in the show pen. Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

In 2017, Daxon rode to the National High School Finals Rodeo reined cow horse champion title aboard Nickin Along at the Gillette, Wyoming, event. The gelding, owned by fellow Utah cow horse competitor Lori Adamski-Peek, had been a regular mount since spring, which helped Daxon finally capture the title he’d had in his sights.

“I rode Lori’s horse in April, and me and Lori were the only people to ride that horse until the high school finals [in July],” he says. “The difference was that I showed that horse April until July; the other years, I had only shown the horse I rode at finals once or twice before. That made the biggest difference for me.”

Daxon says the win aboard his “favorite cow horse” was a result of determination and strategy.

“I don’t believe at luck at all, not even a little bit,” he says.

Instead, the aspiring trainer puts his faith in hard work and practice. He’s currently attending Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado, and is a member of the rodeo team. Though not focused on cow horse at this time, Daxon introduced the event to more than 9,000 attendees at the July 2018 Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah. He took two horses, Nickin Along and Stopacat, to ride in the three-night exhibition event.

“Daxon took a cow down the fence to a packed house at the Days of 47 Cowboy Games,” says Sophia Buttars, Daxon’s stepmother. “Nine thousand people were in the stands, and it was televised on CBS. He was showing off the sport of reined cow horse as the 2017 NHSRA World Champion! It was awesome and the crowd went wild when he circled up. Brandon and I were busting with pride.”

The prideful month continued when Texie, 17, captured third place at the 2018 NHSFR in Gillette. More than 101 contestants from across the U.S., Canada and even Australia vied for the cow horse championship; approximately 1,500 high school competitors came for all rodeo events.

Texi Buttars National High School Finals Rodeo
Texie Buttars slides to third place overall at the 2018 NHSFR. Photo courtesy of NRCHA/Allison Walker

While Texie didn’t ride home with the win, she did pilot Survivoroo, known as “Ava,” to second in the short-go with a 296 score. Fellow cow horse competitor Kris Troxel owns the mare. In addition, Texie took Sophia’s horse, Marmalade Sky, as a second mount.

The blonde teen was once indifferent to riding, but today couldn’t see herself without her horses.

“When I was 9 years old, I started in horses. I wasn’t into horses at all since I was little. My mom made me start riding, and then it became a habit,” says Texie. “I can’t really remember not being part of horses. But I do remember that everything was focused around horses. You get your homework done, get your chores done, and for me that was cleaning stalls. Then you can ride and do whatever you want. The horses are always first, because that is our life.”

And now Texie is setting her sights on her senior year in high school rodeo and another run at the state and national cow horse title. Then, she plans to pursue an equine veterinary degree.

“I would like to be something similar to Dr. Carter, the NRCHA veterinarian,” she says. “Since I grew up around horses, I learned there’s a demand for equine vets. I experienced a lot of the problems with horses and I have seen a lot of the problems. For FFA, I did a project on reducing inflammation through proper stall bedding. Doing that made me want to dig deeper into veterinary work.”

It’s obvious that horses are at the heart of the Buttars family, both in their day-to-day operations and their future plans. If Texie’s and Daxon’s track records are any indication of the future, watch for the younger Buttars to continue their father’s winning ways.

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