“Well, I grew up in a ranching family all my life, and it was a hard deal because my real father died on a horse when I was a baby. When my mom remarried, my step-dad finally talked her into it, and I’ve been roping six years competitively,” Otto said. “At first I was very uncoordinated. It’s very different from roping on the ranch.”
Otto ropes as a heeler and has been in the Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals for three years in a row. His best time was eight seconds as a sophomore when he competed in Bulverde.
He attended a roping school in Van while in seventh grade where he worked with six Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champions. He said he has spent the last four years practicing with Russ Farrell of Three Rivers and considers him to be a mentor.
“It’s just what I’ve grown up in, and I love to do it; it’s a passion,” Otto said. “Grandpa said to pick something you love, and it will never feel like you are trying to do it. It’s just natural.”
Otto said he’s won about nine or 10 saddles, about 50 team roping belt buckles, and came within $400 of winning a truck. His 3.75 grade point average also helped seal the deal for the scholarship.
TRHS Principal Charles Odom said Otto is the first Three Rivers student to get a rodeo scholarship in the two years he has been principal.
“I was very excited for Kyle; he deserves it, worked hard and has been an excellent student here,” Odom said. “He’s a model student and an excellent individual, very polite and very courteous and a pleasure to know.”
Ranger is a two-year college and Otto hopes to transfer to either Sam Houston State University or Texas A&M and fill his PRCA permit. Otto said he would like to study agricultural engineering and petroleum.
“I would like to go pro. It’s hard, but if anything, I want to create an engineering business and train some horses for some top-notch ranches have the engineering money to support the horses,” Otto said.
Otto said he rides for the girls and adrenaline but also for the friendships he’s made that extend across the country and into Canada.
“If you don’t have connections, you’re going nowhere,” Otto said. “Money doesn’t grow on trees and this helps a lot.”
When asked who he would like to thank for helping him grow as an athlete, Otto replied, “I would like to give all the glory to God and overall support of my family, my mom a lot for being there for me, my step-dad for getting me to where I am today, and Russ Farrell because, without him, I would not be at the level of competition I am today.”