Trick roper rides into sunset |

Trick roper rides into sunset

Jack Carrerow
Brian D. Schultz/Tribune News Service Trick roper and gun spinner Kowboy Kal made his farewell performance before an audience which included two U.S. senators and Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

A mainstay at the Ponderosa Ranch for seven seasons, trick roper and gun spinner Kowboy Kal made his farewell performance in front of an audience which included two U.S. senators and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.

The Oklahoma cowboy, who held the Guinness world record for the largest loop up until this year at 100 feet, grew up on a ranch doing what cowboys do.

“I bucked hay, rode horses, drove cattle – it was the extreme cowboy upbringing,” Kal said.

Raised in the small town of Apache, so named because it was where the government relocated Geronimo and his band of Apaches, Kal got his early training from a family member.

“My grandpa got me started with spinning rope when I was a youngster,” Kal said. “He was an old cowboy and I looked up to him. That’s how I got started.”

Along the way, Kal also became expert at gun spinning, taking the world championship in 2002, and in cracking a whip.

Even though Kal has been in demand at rodeos and theme parks all over the country, there is one goal he is striving for.

“I want to be an actor and I’m hoping that my certain talents will open doors for me,” Kal said.

A look at Kal’s résumé seems to indicate that several doors have opened and will continue into the future.

After leaving Tahoe, Kal is heading to Los Angeles with his family to make an appearance at the “Golden Boot Awards,” a ceremony held each year to honor cowboy movies and the actors that appear in them.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to meet people in the business and perhaps get a shot in a movie,” Kal said.

No stranger to the Southern California scene, Kal and his family spent eight years in Huntington Beach, where he was a regular fixture at another western-themed attraction, Knotts Berry Farm.

It was also in Southern California that Kal got his first break in television, but not by spinning a rope or a gun.

“The first day I was there, I had nothing to do, so I went over to one of the television studios and ended up as a contestant on “The Price Is Right,” Kal said. “Believe it or not, I won the big showcase.”

Though his show at the ranch has now come to an end, Kal is hardly out of work.

“After the “Golden Boot,” I’m headed for Austin, Texas to appear at the governors banquet,” Kal said. “In fact, I’m booked up for the rest of the year.”

Reflecting back on his seven years at the Ponderosa, Kal said, “Sure I’ll miss the place, but I have to say that I met a lot of great people while I was there and I wish them nothing but the best.”

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