BERTHOLD - You might say it's a bunch of bulls. That is, the stock contracting business that Kyle and Maci Abrahamson, of Berthold, are involved in with other family members.
Kyle, a freshman at North Dakota State University in Fargo, and Maci, a sophomore at Lewis & Clark-North Shore High School in Makoti, are among the upcoming stock contractors in North Dakota.
Bulls that they own, along with others of the Abrahamson Rodeo Co., a longtime family business, will be at the Western Edge Bull Riders Finals. The finals are being held Friday and Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. each evening in Arena 2 of the All Seasons Arena on the State Fairgrounds in Minot.
Eloise Ogden/MDN • Maci Abrahamson, left, and Kyle Abrahamson, brother and sister from Berthold, are among the youngest stock contractors in North Dakota.
Kyle, with Maci assisting, also is managing the bullriding and bullfighting schools, sponsored by Abrahamson Rodeo Co., being held this week in conjunction with the Finals. Students in the bullriding and bullfighting schools will have a chance to show their skills to the crowds during the Finals. Bulls that Kyle and Maci have just started raising will be used for the schools.
Kyle got started in the stock contracting business when he was around 10 or 12 and got his first bull. Checking the Internet, he found some bulls for sale owned by Alvin Jones in Tyler, Texas. With a Farm Service Agency youth farmer's loan, Kyle, partnering with his grandfather, the late Jerome Abrahamson, bought his first bull from the Texas man. Jones runs an operation "with hundreds and hundreds" of bulls. The next year Kyle also bought five heifers from him.
Maci was 13 when she got into the bull business when their dad, Kelly, bid on a bull for her sold on a live TV auction. Kyle assisted from his computer class in school, watching the bulls on the Internet and calling their dad to tell him what bulls he thought he should buy.
The Western Edge Bull Riders Finals, produced by Abrahamson Rodeo Co., are Friday and Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., in Arena 2 of the All Seasons Arena on the State Fairgrounds in Minot. Greg Hagar is the opening entertainment and will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets, sold only at the door, are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Preschool and under are free. Outlaw Sippin' will perform at a dance after Saturday's performance.
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"I was told I got a bull from that," Maci explained. She also was involved in the beginning farmer's program
They drove to Torrington, Wyo., to get Maci's bull from its owner, Byron Juma, originally from Stanley.
"After that, they've been breeding bulls like crazy," their dad said.
Kyle's and Maci's calf crops now are in about their fourth generation.
Kyle and Maci are in the stock contracting business with their dad and his two brothers, Kevin and Kacey Abrahamson. Kyle and Maci's mother, Judy, helps with the work - from rounding up the stock, they said, to whatever else is needing to be done.
"We produce our own rodeos and our own bull-a-ramas," Kelly said.
Rodeos have been a way of life for Kyle, Maci and their family.
Their dad said Kyle and Maci have been going to rodeos since they were infants. "Kyle was like 2 weeks old when he was at his first rodeo in Garrison and Maci was 6 or 7 months old when she was at her first one," he recalled.
At the Finals in Minot, the Abrahamsons will be among several stock contractors for the event.
"All in all, Abrahamson Rodeo Company will have 70-some bulls there," Kelly said.
Just how does a bull become good for a rodeo?
"Breeding," Kyle said. "It's got to have the right attitude."
The Abrahamsons said the bulls have to have spark in them athletic ability just like athletes.
When they first start working with the bulls, they put a bucking dummy on it. If a bull bucks, they'll save that bull but if it won't do anything at all, the bull is sold.
To get young bulls ready before the bullriding and bullfighting schools to be held later this week in Minot, they've been doing some training or chute breaking putting the young bulls in a chute at home so they'll get used to the chutes.
Kyle and Maci, along with other family members, spend many days from June to September on the road with stock going to rodeos. "This year we're booked up pretty hard," Kelly said. One weekend, they said, they have three rodeos in the same weekend - Wishek, Jamestown and Watford City.
When he gets out of college, Kyle, who is majoring in agricultural economics and minoring in animal science, said he'll probably stay with rodeo work.
Maci said she's not sure yet what she will do. "Probably vet science or something like that," she said.
Of the stock contracting business, "Hopefully, these guys can just keep on with it," their dad said.