Case Hirdes’ veins pump rodeo blood. The Turlock teenager has been enthralled with the sport and the lifestyle since as long as he can remember; following the dusty boot prints of his grandfather Les, father Ed and brother Blake. While his high school peers focused on sports like baseball and football, Hirdes soaked up all things rodeo as he competed in both amateur and high school competitions.
“I was kind of born into it; I never wanted to do anything else,” Hirdes said. “I’m finally getting to a place where I’m getting good at it.”
After showing his skills by winning state championships in team roping as a freshman and sophomore and finishing third in the state his junior year, Hirdes won another state championship as a senior and put the lid on his high school rodeo career with a fourth place finish in Saturday’s National High School Rodeo Finals in Wyoming alongside teammate Tanner Kent of Oakdale. It is his best performance to date.
“It’s the biggest rodeo there is for high school with contestants from all 50 states,” Hirdes said. “It was awesome. To end up fourth was a great way to finish high school rodeo; it was relieving.”
Now, Hirdes plans on continuing his amateur rodeo career until he’s ready to jump into the pro circuit and continue a lineage of rodeo greatness that began with his grandfather Les—Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer— progressed with his father Ed—all-around Oakdale Rodeo champion in 1983 and 1993—and continues today with his brother Blake who recently placed first at the California Cowboys Pro Rodeo Associations team roping event at the Stanislaus County Fair.
“I try to practice as much as I can. I want to be as good as my dad was and my brother is one day,” Hirdes said. “I need some more experience first, then maybe I can be successful like my brother.
“I want to be at the top, that’s my goal.”