Rodeo is a family affair for the Kreders
Shawn and Kara Kreder of Collinsville have been nearly inseparable the past two years since their wedding, and not just because they are husband and wife.
They are also rodeo partners, traveling the country together to International Professional Rodeo Association events. Shawn is a team roper and Kara is a barrel racer.
They are one of three married couples this season who have qualified for the International Finals Rodeo, which begins its four-performance run Friday at Jim Norick State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
So is it a case where the couple that rodeos together stay together?
“That would be a bold statement,” Shawn said. “It's not for everybody. You got to be pretty good friends to keep it going like that, and we are best friends. We do everything together.”
Kara agrees that being constant companions isn't always easy, but it works for them.
“Surprisingly, we don't get tired of each other. I really don't know how,” she said. “We have spent every single day together in the two years we have been together.
“You have to have a very special relationship with your spouse and confide in them and get along and be patient. And luckily, me and Shawn are best friends, so it's a lot of fun.”
And it is especially fun when both are having success. Shawn, 45, will be making his 15th trip to the IFR. For 33-year-old Kara, this is her first qualification to the championship rodeo for the IPRA.
“It makes it that much more special,” Kara said. “I have rodeoed for a long time and getting to travel and rodeo with my husband is the best part of it. To qualify together just kind of makes it a fairy tale, so to speak.”
Kara credits her husband with helping her qualify for her first IFR as a competitor. She was making a strong push in 2014 until two of her horses died mid-season. With younger and less experienced horses to ride, she kept falling in the IPRA standings and just missed the cut for the IFR by a few hundred dollars.
After taking off in 2015, she began traveling with Shawn last year to IPRA rodeos across the country and “really learned what rodeoing was like,” staying gone for months at a time.
This season, Shawn was determined to help get his bride to the IFR.
“I would have never done it without Shawn, for sure,” Kara said.
Shawn, however, said the support goes both ways.
“We are each other's biggest fans,” he said.
For the Kreders, rodeo is very much the family sport. Shawn's father qualified multiple times to the IFR. His uncle, Dan Dailey, won 29 IPRA crowns, more than anyone.
His son, Shayde, was the youngest cowboy to ever qualify for the IFR at age 15.
Shawn won the average at the 2003 IFR and is seeking his first world title.
“I got a chance this year if I have a good finals,” he said.
INTERNATIONAL FINALS RODEO
Where: Jim Norick State Fair Arena
When: Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m.
Tickets: State Fair Arena Box Office or at ifrodeo.com.