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The Dart: Tyler Buckles busy pursuing his dream of calf roping

A broken neck and a subsequent fall from a tree stand hasn’t deterred Tyler Buckles from getting in the saddle and chasing his dreams of being a champion roper. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School senior Tyler Buckles has spent most of his time the past few years on the football and baseball fields or in a tree stand, but lately he’s been spending his time in a saddle.

Tyler is now determined to learn to calf rope.

“It’s just something some of my friends do, and I wanted to learn how so I could do it with them,” he said.

Tyler was practicing roping under the light of his carport Sunday evening when The Dart landed on his Oakhurst Drive home.

Tyler’s father, Ben, bought Tyler a horse a couple of months ago after Tyler told him he wanted to learn to rope.

“At first I wasn’t even going to ask,” Tyler said. “I was surprised when he bought it for me.”

Buckles, above, practices perfecting his roping skills by car light in his carport. A top, Buckles uses a PVC cow to practice night and day. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

And Ben also bought himself a horse. Altogether, the Buckles have three horses — Stella, Abby and a colt.

“I have always wanted a horse, I just needed an excuse to get one,” Ben said.

But Oakhurst Drive isn’t an ideal location for keeping horses, so the Buckles keep their horses on land owned by Ben’s sister in Monterey.

Ben goes out to Monterey and feeds the horses, and Tyler drives out there every chance he gets to ride.

“I haven’t roped a steer yet, but I have roped a dummy while riding my horse,” Tyler said.

And Tyler spends 30 minutes every day tossing his rope at a PVC-pipe cow dummy at his house.

Ben is learning the ins and outs of horse ownership.

“I have learned a lot, a lot,” he said smiling. “It’s a lot of work.”

Tyler’s mother, Donna, and sister, Megan, who lives in Brookhaven and attends college, say they leave the horse business to the boys.

“It’s something they can do together, and it occupies Ben’s time,” Donna said.

That was exactly Ben’s goal.

Tyler Buckles stands with his horse in front of their house on Oakhurst Drive. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

“(Megan) is gone, and (Tyler) is fixing to leave for college,” Ben said. “For 20 years we’ve been chasing kids around, so I’m hoping the horses will occupy my time.”