Prep Rodeo: Fremont's Hodson has rodeo in his genes
His pedigree is pure-bred cowboy.
Riding horses and roping cattle is in Preston Hodson's blood, what he has done since about the time he could walk.
He has grown up watching the professional career of his father Justin, who competes in up to 100 rodeos a year in the western part of the country, and hopes to follow in those tracks, earning a living riding, roping and wrestling.
"It's always been something that our whole family has done together," said Hodson, a junior-to-be at Fremont High. "I have rodeod my whole life, from the time I was 3 or 4 years old I was riding horses. It's kind of a family deal."
Hodson placed 58th in the all-around standings at last weekend's Utah High School Rodeo finals, competing in steer wrestling, team roping and calf roping all events in which he placed in at least one round over the weekend.
Hodson, whose cousin Meggen placed ninth in the girls' all-around, lives on a ranch in West Haven, the same area in which his father grew up. The family owns a dozen horses, about 40 head of cattle and has an arena they use to practice their craft six days a week.
While being a cowboy is a big part of who he is, Hodson has other interests. He plays tight end and defensive end on the Fremont football team in the fall, and is a power forward and center for the Silverwolves' basketball team in the winter.
He also carries a 4.0 grade-point average, something that perhaps makes his father most proud.
"His grades and family come first," Justin said. "He does well with school and takes care of his family. He's a hard worker and does everything you ask him. He's a real good kid."
Said Preston, who turned 16 earlier this week: "I have to keep my grades up to do it. He wants me to focus on that and make sure I get a degree and get set up really well so I can do this and get another job to help support my family."
Justin encourages Preston's decision to pursue a career as a rodeo cowboy because he sees how much his son loves the sport and competition.
"We'll go to 60-70 rodeos this summer," Justin said. "He loves to go with me and travel. He's real dedicated and works at it a lot."
Hodson's strength training in football has been an asset in rodeo, particularly steer wrestling, or "bulldogging" an event in which he has just recently started to compete. And the agility he uses to elude blockers on the gridiron and move around screens on the basketball court also comes in handy in the roping events.
Though the high school rodeo season is complete, the schedule doesn't slow for Hodson, who will compete in amateur rodeos and some team roping events the Wrangler Team Roping Championships and U.S. Team Roping Championships, among others this summer.
For Hodson, it's an ideal way to spend the next few months.
"I like the whole outdoors aspect of it," he said. "I like riding horses, being outside and having fun with my friends and family."
West Haven's Preston Hodson hopes to follow his father's career path as a professional rodeo cowboy.
Hodson, 16, has been riding horses since he was 3 years old and last weekend competed in the Utah High School Rodeo finals.
He and his father Justin attend as many as 100 rodeos a year, and plan to hit upwards of 70 this summer, before Preston returns to start Fremont High football practice.