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Not his first rodeo

Most youth have a hard time knowing what they want to be when they grow up, but Kolby Krieger knew from the moment he could walk he wanted to be a roper.

Kolby placed third in the world this year at the Little Britches National Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma in the senior boys tie down. At just 17, he is one of the youngest ropers among his fellow competitors. 

Family, friends and neighbors have memories of Kolby dating back to when he was in a diaper and cowboy hat roping a little goat in the front yard.

“I began roping around the age of two,” Kolby said. “As soon as I was walking, I was roping.”

Kobly said his father, Don, was his ultimate inspiration. As a roper before Kolby’s birth, Don said he was not anywhere near the skill level Kolby has achieved.

“I’ll take credit because I love him, but if it wasn’t for the help of others he wouldn’t be where he is today,” Don said. “We have had two horses given to us, and that is just one example of how people have helped us all over. They see his talent and his love for it and want to be a part of that.”

As a 16 time all-around champion roper, Kobly has already began to inspire the next generation and takes any opportunity to spread the knowledge of the sport.

“I was at the SEMO Fair with a buddy of mine and I had a rope in my hand and I was just doing some tricks when this little boy came up to me and said he wanted to learn to rope,” Kolby said. “So I got down and was showing him how to hold it and my buddy would stick out his foot so he’d have something to rope. That boy stayed there for 20 minutes trying to rope.”

Kolby said roping is not easy but is a lot of fun and worth the work. Due to his busy roping schedule, Kolby’s parents allowed him to start homeschooling last year and he says he has been loving it ever since.

“When I was in school, I would leave on Fridays because we would try and hit three or four rodeos, and I would miss so much school and it was so hard for them to keep one student caught up,” Krieger said. “It just didn’t work and home school works awesome.”

Kolby said he is definitely going to college and is thinking of pursuing a business degree or something in the farm management field.

“My parents have always been supportive of me, whether it was in roping, sports or academics,” Kolby said. “They were always big on safety and made me wear a helmet until I was 12, even though I always wanted to wear my cowboy hat.”

Kolby remembered one event when his parents let him ride the sheep without his helmet so he could wave his hat to the crowd.

“I got on the sheep and out of the ordinary the second I nodded my head it went off on a dead run,” Kolby said. “The clown was running to get me off and it grabbed the sheep’s butt by the wool and it flipped over and rolled me underneath. I stood up not knowing where I was at but I put my hat in the air. That was the last time mom ever let me wear the hat instead of the helmet.”

Kolby entered his first rodeo at the age of six but his first time competing in a team roping event happened on his tenth birthday.

“He had never team roped at the time and what I told him was you get prepared and I will let you rope,” Don said. “His birthday started rolling around and he was doing great. I knew he was going to be ready.”

Don said he asked Kolby what he would like to do for his birthday, whether he wanted to have a skating party or what.

“He said ‘no I want to go to the roping at Flickerwood,'” Don said. “So we took him there with the new horse that was given to us by some friends who had seen Kolby on a TV commercial he had done for Moser Steel, and he won the roping the first day he had ever competed in team roping.”

Don added that Kolby had won his first tie down roping event when he was nine. Adding that Kolby would always dedicate his wins to his mother, Kelly Krieger, who is now a 12-year cancer survivor.

“Kolby always dedicated to his momma,” Don said.

As Kolby spoke of his accomplishments surrounded by 125 buckles and 18 saddles, one could tell one of his biggest successes was standing outside with four hooves waiting for him to load him up and take him to the next event.

Kolby bought his horse “Rolex” when he was nothing but a wild bucking horse.

“He was a bucking horse whenever he was a yearling,” Kolby said. “I bought him from them at the end of the year when they were selling off the horses. I liked the way he looked and thought I’d see what he would make.”

After many hours and days of training, Rolex has become one of Kolby’s favorites to ride and has brought home his share of titles.

“I don’t ride bucking horses but I saw him and decided he was worth taking on the challenge,” Kolby said. “He lived in a little pen and never really had the attention he needed. He caught on very fast once he had the human connection and he had a job and purpose.”

Kolby is currently training two more for competition riding and says he tries to not pick favorites but that it is usually Rolex.

“Just because I invested so much into training him and I made him what he is,” Kolby said. “I didn’t just buy him finished. I have had a lot of guys try to buy him but I just couldn’t imagine ever letting him go.”

Some of Kolby’s titles include Rookie of the Year in 2017 for the MRCA, 2018 All-Around Champion at Flickerwood Rodeo, 2018 Calf Roping Champion at CALBRA, Third in the world at the Little Britches National Finals in Calf Roping, tied the fastest calf at Nationals and at the Rising Stars Calf Roping. He has already qualified to go to the finals of the MRCA this year which is the next step up from what he is currently competing in and is right below pro rodeo.

Kobly’s championship career actually began at the age of four when he qualified for the Junior Looper Championships in Oklahoma City and had the privilege of qualifying four years in a row.

Competing in multiple states including Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska has helped Kolby become a recognized roper leading him to acquire several corporate sponsors.

Kolby is currently sponsored by Wards Farm Service, Purina, Kemp’s Auto Body, Brotherton Motors, City Glass, Ellis Battery, Fast Back Ropes and 4S Cattle.

Kolby said he loves being part of this sport, and the friends he has made along the way are truly great people.

“Cowboys are different,” Kolby said. “They help regardless of the competition. They jump in and help whenever they are needed.”

Kolby said the support he has received from his family, friends and the community have driven him to train harder and to win faster every time.

“I could not have done this without my parents,” Krieger said. “You couldn’t even imagine how supportive they are. They knew how much I wanted to go and encouraged me to train even harder. There was never any pressure put on me other than what I put on myself and they always made sure I could follow my dream.”

Kolby Krieger competes in a calf roping competition at Odessa, Missouri, riding his horse

Kolby Krieger competes in a calf roping competition at Odessa, Missouri, riding his horse “Chester.”

Kolby Krieger and his horse

Kolby Krieger and his horse “Rolex”

Kolby Krieger's buckle for placing third in the world this year at the Little Britches National Finals Rodeo in Guthrie Oklahoma in the senior boys tie down. 

Kolby Krieger’s buckle for placing third in the world this year at the Little Britches National Finals Rodeo in Guthrie Oklahoma in the senior boys tie down. 

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or

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