Learning to Rope & Ride: Ehlinger, Fox star on the football field, rodeo arena
UNDER THOSE HERALDED FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, TYLER EHLINGER AND COLIN FOX WILL SUIT UP FOR LUTHERAN SOUTH ON THE GRIDIRON. EHLINGER A SENIOR, PLAYING DEFENSIVE BACK AND RECEIVER, WHILE FOX – JUST A SOPHOMORE – WILL PLAY LINEBACKER AND ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE.
Once Saturday morning hits, Ehlinger and Fox will suit up for their other passion – rodeo.
"During football season, it's tough to get to rope, but during the winter I can rope as much as I want," Fox said. "Trying to balance football and rodeo is hard but I love both too much to quit either one."
Ehlinger added: "I do school in the morning, then do football until end of practice, then when we get home we practice. It's an all night affair. It gets late once we practice."
Rodeo is a lifestyle.
That's the way that Ehlinger describes it. For the senior, he has been riding and roping since he was a freshman but has grown up around the sport.
For Fox, he has grown up around football. His father played it in college and the whole rodeo life was introduced to him by his brother.
"When I got to about eight or nine years old, my brother was able to set me up with someone to teach me how to ride and rope," Fox said. "I've been going since then."
Since they have started rodeoing, both have experienced their fair share of individual successes and have also partnered up to do team roping.
"We were like, we're both right here and we can practice all the time," Ehlinger said. "Now, we're partners in team roping and we're good friends. Pretty much like brothers."
In 2019, Colin was the Texas State Chute Dogging Champion, 2020 National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier/Team Texas in Steer Wrestling and 2020 Texas High School All-Around Cowboy Rookie of the Year.
Ehlinger was a Texas High School State Finals Qualifier in calf roping and team roping and an All-Around Champion at GCFRSS.
"Winning all the saddles has been the most rewarding," Ehlinger said. "This year, we qualified for Vegas so that was a big accomplishment to rope at the Las Vegas center."
The success doesn't come without hard work.
The duo practices a ton but have to take care of their horses after every practice and rodeo. It is hours of work and a big responsibility.
"It's not like football where you go to practice or a game and after it's over you just go home," Ehlinger said. "Once you're done with the rodeo, you have to take care of the horse and then it's a long drive home. There's a lot of care to it."
So, is rodeo in their futures?
Maybe even one day an appearance at the National Finals Rodeo, which is set to be held in Arlington this year.
"I want to go to college at Sam Houston State and they have one of the best rodeo teams," Fox said. "I know the coach there. My sister went to college there, so I kind of know the school. When I turn 18, I'll buy my pro card and go to a few pro rodeos through college."
For Ehlinger, the goal is to play baseball in college but don't rule out seeing him in the arena as well.
"Rodeo is always in the back of my head, especially if I get a good offer or something doesn't work out with baseball," he said. "For rodeo, the ultimate goal would be to make the National Finals Rodeo. "It's definitely worth it. It's worth the long hours on the road and at night."