Horseman and Horsewoman of the Year
The Red River Valley International Select Sire Futurity has an Award called the Horseman and Horsewoman of the Year. To nominate someone please contact Don Patterson or any of the board members.
2021: Tate & Shannon Eck
Honored, Shocked, and Humbled are just a few words to describe our feelings when we received the notice that we were selected as the 2021 Red River Valley Horse Breeders Horseman and Horsewoman of the Year.
To say that horses have influenced our lives is an understatement. Horses had a part in us meeting, lead us both to new careers, are part of our everyday lives and have taken us around the world and back.
Who is Tate & Shannon Eck? Well, here is a little about us…
Tate & Shannon have always had horses in their lives. Both of them were born in to families with horses that included showing, breeding and rodeos.
Shannon started in the open show world with her Paint Horse Boss Dog. Boss was sold to Shannon’s family as a barrel racing and goat tying horse, unknown to them was that he was an APHA world qualifying trail horse that had quite the show roster. He took her in to the show world but also the speed events with countless trophies in all classes, especially trail. She then started running a grade pole-bending horse that she converted in to a 4H hunter jumper horse as well. Once the time for High school Rodeo was upon her she focused more on breakaway roping, pole bending, cow cutting, and barrel racing horses but always had horses broke enough to enter an open show every once in a while. She took three trips to the National High School Rodeo Finals during her years in High School Rodeo.
Tate’s start in the horse world began in the rodeo world when his aunt, Virginia Eck, bought him a paint rope horse named Tapioca. He started competing at Roughrider Rodeos, high school Rodeos, NDAQHA Shows, and was even on the winning team at the state’s first ever Team Penning competition. He made several trips to State Fair, State High School Rodeo Finals, and National High School Rodeo Finals on his aunt’s AQHA mare Doc Lee Clark, better known as Sara.
Tate & Shannon met in college back in 1995 at a college rodeo. However, they didn’t start dating until 2001 when they ran into each other in Denver, CO. Shannon was a rodeo ambassador and carrying flags as Miss Rodeo North Dakota 2001 and Tate was competing in the PRCA saddle bronc riding at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo. From that time forward the two of them have talked horses and rodeo and continue with those discussions to
They were married in 2005 and reside just south of Kindred, ND on part of Shannon’s family ranch where they currently own 15 horses. The main goal of their breeding and raising colts is to produce elite level barrel racing and roping horses. Together, they have competed on horses they have raised and trained at countless PRCA, WPRA, and amateur rodeos.
Both of them have worked for NDSU since 2006 in the Equine Science Department. Tate was hired as a lecturer in Equine Science and Rodeo Coach. Shannon was hired as the NDSU Equine Center Manager. They have helped grow the program over the past 15 years and added many things in to the equine center such as clinics, horse shows, rodeos, and jackpots.
Tate’s position at NDSU aided in his start as an international clinician for the AQHA. He is still flying over the pond to Belgium and the Netherlands for clinics as an AQHA Professional Horseman along with Shannon also going in 20018 & 2019. They have been invited back next year as well. While in Europe, they have helped with horsemanship, barrel racing, pole bending, team roping, rough stock riding, working cow horse and ranch pleasure. They have had the privilege to have sessions with a variety of international clients ranging from singers, actors, champion barrel racers, established trainers, and race car drivers all wanting some tips from an “American Cowboy”.
Currently, Shannon still is manager of the equine center at NDSU. After 15 years teaching and coaching, however, Tate has left NDSU and is currently working on expanding their horse business with more lessons, training, and farrier work for the public.
Together with Shannon’s family, they are also starting many new equine ventures at their facility in Kindred with the Speed Rustad Memorial Arena. They have already hosted team roping clinics, private riding lessons, open horse shows, and have just expanded their arena and began hosting jackpot barrel races.
…As you can see, horses have impacted us greatly and taken us to many places that we would never have gone. Who would think a horse would even take you over the ocean. Our horses and all the horsemen and women we have met and learned from over the years have taught us immeasurable life lessons. We hope we are able to instill some of that in the current and future horse world.
Thank you all for awarding us this honor of Horseman and Woman of the year!