Whataburger's Whatakid: Jack Kahla
Congratulations to the Whatakid of the month, Jack Kahla! This 17-year-old senior from Jasper, Texas is a force to be reckoned with. He competes in calf roping and bulldogging. Of the two, he likes bulldogging a little bit more because it feels more natural to him.
For calf roping, he rides a horse named Boosie. “He is a fantastic horse,” Jack said. “I couldn’t ask for a better horse.” For bulldogging, Jack recently got a team of horses named Polly and Ernie. He said that they are both phenomenal horses that make an incredible team and he loves that they take care of him as much as he takes care of them. Jack went on to add that his favorite thing about his bulldogging team is that they cannot go anywhere without each other. “If you take one away from the other, they can’t stand it,” Jack said.
Jack said that he has been roping a dummy ever since he was four years old. “My dad rodeoed a lot when he was younger,” Jack said. “So did my grandpa and it just is a family deal. It is a sport that our family has loved for a long time” As he got older, he continued to rodeo and now he doesn’t ever want to get away from it. He is currently a member of THSRA.
When asked why he loves rodeo, Jack said that it is just the way he was raised. “It is who I am,” Jack said. “Being a cowboy is the majority of my life and it was what I was raised to do, what I love to do and what I will continue to do. It’s that simple; I love it.”
He loves that rodeo has taught him that no matter what happens there is always another day, another performance and another rodeo to make up for what happened. “If you don’t do good, dust yourself off and go at it again because it is not that big of a deal,” Jack said. “Everyone fails and everyone succeeds at some point.”
Jack said that his favorite rodeo was Shawnee 2018. He competed in both bulldogging and calf roping at the rodeo and said it was a phenomenal experience. “I had been in high school rodeo for two years already. So, I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. It was just a lot of friends and a lot of fun going on.” He added that in his opinion the main part of rodeo is enjoying yourself.
Jack feels like that at this point in his rodeo career he hasn’t really accomplished anything that is “out of this world. It is what I feel like I am going to accomplish that excites me more than what I have already done.”
In addition to rodeo, Jack takes his academics very seriously and is already taking college level classes. He said that his favorite subject is any type of science. “Rodeoing as much as we do, you don’t really have a whole lot of time for anything else, but I really enjoy hunting, especially duck hunting and bow fishing,” Jack said. He also works as a farrier and enjoys riding dirt bikes.
On a normal day, Kahla starts his day early, waking up at around 5:45 a.m. He feeds all of the horses and checks on the ranch before heading to school at Jasper High School. Kahla is part of the work program so he gets out of school around 11:20 a.m. and then heads back to the ranch to exercise horses, shoe horses and do whatever else needs to be done at the ranch that day.
When asked what his motto on life is, Jack said it is “just go at it.” He explained that this helps him calm himself down before a run. “Whatever competition you are at or wherever you are, if you are nervous you just got to take a second and relax. I think ‘I am me. I know what I am capable of.’ and then I just go out there a do the best I can.”
Jack really looks up to his father, Joe Glenn Kahla, and would consider him his hero. “My dad has given me all of the tools that I need to be successful and he is a fantastic dad,” Kahla said.
Jack recognizes that he has made a lot of sacrifices to perform how he has in the rodeo arena. “Everybody has to make sacrifices to do what they love to do,” Kahla said. “To me that’s going to bed early so I can wake up early to take care of my chores on the ranch, or not hanging out with friends to stay at the house to practice. It is all things that are going to make me better in the long run.”
In the future Jack plans to attend college with the hopes of one day becoming a veterinarian and opening up his own equine facility. While he is not yet sure where he wants to attend college, he does know that he wants to continue competing in rodeos in college.
Jack feels really honored to be named this month’s Whatakid!