Afton Caldwell has been in the Rocky Mountain association for four years and competes at the timed event end of the arena in the steer wrestling, team roping, and calf roping. He likes the RMPRA and the way the rodeos are organized. “The staff is friendly and easy to work with and the rodeos are close to home so you can get to a lot of their rodeos. The atmosphere is always friendly and fun. I get to 20 to 30 rodeos a year.” He also holds a card in the PRCA.
Afton, 26, has grown up in a rodeo family that lives the life and passes it on to next generation. “My grandpa roped calves and rodeoed quit a bit; he’s the one that taught me how to rope calves. My dad has trained horses and raised horses for years. So we do this all as a family.”Afton says that his father was a big factor in his development. “He has supported us as much as we wanted to put into it. He’s been behind us all the way. I’m the oldest of seven and most of us rodeo. With all he has done in helping me with rodeo and the horses, he is without a doubt my biggest influence.”
He began competing in his first rodeos as a youngster in the Utah Junior Rodeo Association and moved up through the high school and college associations. “I was pretty successful in high school rodeo in all the timed events. I won the state title in steer wrestling my senior year. After high school, I rodeoed for Howard College for a year, and then for Utah Valley University for three years.” His area of study is finance and he’s closing in on completion of his degree.
Preparation for nodding his head starts with keeping a high level of confidence in his own abilities. “Just knowing and believing that you are the most prepared competitor for the run, gives you an advantage. That gives me a peace of mind that will result in the best run I can make. I really like the competition and striving for that first place win is what keeps me going. Just doing it for fun doesn’t interest me.”
Afton and his wife, Karli make their home on the family farm in Lehi, Utah. Karli is a dental hygenist while Afton works on the family ranch. “We bought a ranch that Wilford Brimley built back in the day, Clementine Farms. I’m training a lot of young horses now and there are always chores and work that needs to be done.”
His parents are Lee and Jamie Caldwell. “Dad runs a private high school and Mom has been a stay-at-home mom, and with seven of us that has kept her more than busy.” His younger siblings are Sunni, Sadie, Wyatt, Thane, Hanna, and Clara.
Leisure time for Afton includes some golf, hunting or fishing. Goals for the future are to continue to rodeo, train horses, and to begin building his financial planning career. Afton’s philosophy about life is to keep God and family above all and, “…everything else will take care of itself.”