By Frank J. Buchman
One Flint Hills teenage cowboy made lights shine even brighter in Glamour Town during the first week of December.
At the spectator-packed famed Thomas & Mack, the world’s best tie-down ropers were loudly applauded for speedy clock stops.
Just right down The Entertainment Capital’s Boulevard Strip, Cash Fuesz was matching roping times indicative America’s Number 1 Sport’s future.
Simultaneously Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals Rodeo, Eureka’s 18-year-old became a Las Vegas Junior World Finals Rodeo reserve champion.
A remarkable most admirable feat only fully appropriately acknowledged when applauders hear the rest of the story.
Yes, Cash Fuesz is an inbred cowboy, parents and grandparents working ranchers, and he was riding horses before walking.
Yes, the high school senior is a lifelong athlete excelling to be one of the state’s best football quarterbacks.
Added to strong heritage, Cash Fuesz is an ambitious, intelligent, smiling, humble, strong-in-faith, cooperative, leader, congenial friend to everyone everywhere.
That’s all great, but what the highly skilled tie-down roper has overcome to achieve is even more heartwarming remarkable.
Champion in rodeo arenas long before kindergarten adding football starship in second grade, Cash found his favorite sports complementary.
“Rodeo has probably always been my favorite, but I have really enjoyed football too,” Cash said.
Knowing defeat yet with overriding accomplishments in rodeo and football, major disappointment, heavy discouragement came his freshman year.
“I had a serious left knee injury playing football that pretty much put me out of commission in sports,” Cash admitted. “I couldn’t play football and I couldn’t rope and tie calves.”
Major surgery was required. “It was unsuccessful which really was more painful for me than the injury itself,” the cowboy-football player professed.
A second knee surgery performed still didn’t take care of the problem. “Finally, I was referred to an orthopedic specialist who had been team doctor for the Denver Nuggets,” Cash explained. “I went to Vail, Colorado for his expertise knee operation, and fortunately the third time was a charm.”
Closely following therapy directions, Cash said, “That wasn’t too hard because I just considered them workouts to be healthy again.”
Without knee pain except when it’s very cold, Cash said, “I may not be perfect. And there could be issues later in life, but I feel just fine now. I can rope, tie calves and play football.”
Review of his final high school year’s successes is living proof. “I’m able to rope and tie calves to win rodeos plus it’s been good on the football field,” Cash appreciated.
That’s an understatement about his final high school year pigskin accomplishments. Eureka Tornadoes Number 4 player Cash Fuesz was recognized All-State Honorable Mention Quarterback. “After all of the setbacks I’ve had playing high school football, this really helped make up for it,” he confessed.
Yet it has all made a quite hectic schedule for the rodeo cowboy at heart. “The senior year has been so much busier than the rest of high school,” Cash, five-foot-seven, 190-pounds, said. “I didn’t want to miss out on any of it, do my best at football, roping and academically. It was usually close to midnight before bed every day and then going again early the next morning.”
Son of Cory and Heather Fuesz, Greenwood County ranchers, Cash is heavily involved in all aspects of the ranch work too.
“I help with the cow-calf operation and looking after about 4,000 yearlings on summer pasture,” Cash said. “Dad has a lot of ability with horses and is a skilled roper although he didn’t get started in rodeo competition at an early age.
“Mom grew up riding, competing on horses, a rodeo queen, a journalism degree graduate from Kansas State University,” Cash informed. “Now, Mom is Eureka’s Main Street director, but still a big help with ranch work on horseback during busy times.”
Grandparents Clint and Irlene Huntington are Eureka ranchers as well. “My grandpa Clint is 90-years-old and still takes care of his large cow-calf operation. Of course, my parents and I do help out when needed,” Cash said.
His other grandparents, Gary and Vicki Fuesz farm near the northeast Colorado community of Haxtun.
“My family is my greatest supporter in everything I do,” Cash credited. “I wouldn’t have been able to do much of anything without my dad, mom and my grandparents. I really appreciate all of their ability, knowledge and encouragement.”
My brother Clinton Laflin is a real inspiration and one of my biggest supporters too,” Cash said. Laflin is a well-known, popular, most knowledgeable Kansas State University Extension livestock production specialist serving Russell and Ellsworth counties.
Starting out in junior rodeos, Cash competed in every event from sheep riding to roping to the speed classes. “He enjoyed every part of it and actually was really outstanding in goat tying,” mom Heather inserted.
Graduating to Heartland Youth Rodeo Association and Kansas Junior Rodeo Association competitions, Cash excelled during upper elementary years.
“I qualified for the National Junior High Rodeo Finals three times and made the short-go every year,” Cash said. His youthful arena talents earned Cash five all-around cowboy trophy saddles and more than 50 championship rodeo buckles.
Knee injury sharply hampered, Cash competed in the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association. “Those rodeos were closer to home. There weren’t as many of them, but I still couldn’t go much due to my knee,” he said.
Most tie-down accomplishments have come in the form of junior calf roping events. They’ve included the Joe Beaver Roping, Chris Neal’s Rising Stars events, and The Patriot.
“This summer my family had fun at the International Youth Finals Rodeo in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the Best of the Best in Gallup, New Mexico,” Cash said.
Specializing in tie-down roping instead of competing in several events, Cash said. “There’s more action to use my athletic ability.”
Besides personal skills, being a champion roper requires lots of practice and top horses. “I’m fortunate to have my great horses,” Cash appreciated.
His main tie-down horse is a 14-year-old gelding called Main Grey Fly with a six-year-old sorrel called Hammer as backup. “Tie was my main horse, but he had a serious injury and is under treatment in Texas,” Cash said. “While Tie’s only 10-years-old, I don’t know if he’ll ever be sound again.”
Personal practice regiment is daily with heaviest work Wednesday and Thursday while weekends are often at competitions. “There are more open rodeos and jackpots in Oklahoma so I often go that direction. I also sometimes compete in a couple different amateur rodeo associations,” Cash said.
“During football my dad and mom keep my horses in shape during the week and ready for me to practice,” Cash said. “I usually rope and tie a couple calves off each horse, maybe breakaway a couple, and then score several head. I practice flanking and tying calves tied on the post plus roping and tying dummies.”
Credit is given for mentors who’ve worked with Cash to improve his roping skills. “Besides my parents, Clif Cooper, James Barton (Barton Performance Horses), Mick Loyd, Roy Durfey and Thadd Davis have really been a great help developing my abilities,” Cash appreciated.
“A friend Clint Graves hauled my horse to Las Vegas and then I flew down for the competition,” Cash said.
He roped and tied four calves in 36-seconds while the champion was 35.9-seconds. Such fast compilations require clocks stopping less than 8-seconds, unheard of feats by the world’s best ropers just decades ago. “Your horse, the calf, personal timing everything must be right to rope and tie them with that consistency,” Cash confirmed.
Even more than a rodeo and football star, Cash runs track and is a school and community leader. “I’m in 4-H, FFA and FCA competing in competitions and serving as an officer for each of the organizations,” he said. A Key Award signifying 4-H most elite is proudly displayed with vast rodeo award tokens and football citations.
National Honor Society initiate testing high intellectually, Cash will attend Weatherford College, Weatherford Texas, on academic and rodeo scholarships.
“Johnny Emmons, former NFR qualifier is a great coach there, so I plan to tie-down rope in the National Intercollege Rodeo Association,” Cash said. “I’d sure like to make the National College Rodeo Finals every year.”
Pursuing a degree in agricultural economics, Cash said, “I intend to rodeo professionally fulltime after college. Then I may work into real estate marketing, appraisals or become a broker. Of course, I’ll likely always have ranching operations as there look to be opportunities here with my family.”
Rodeo overhead is high making Cash most appreciative of sponsorships from American Hat Company and Kimes Ranch Jeans, arena attire.
Success is proof that setbacks can’t hold down a determined cowboy.
Seen kneeling in prayer before a rodeo, Cash is “leaving a legacy whether you know it or not,” spectator acknowledged. “Awesome. God bless him, may His face shine upon him.”
Cash Fuesz, Eureka, on his horse Hammer displays abilities making him one of the best young tie-down ropers in the rodeo world today. Dad and mom, Eureka ranchers Cory and Heather Fuesz are hardest working behind-the-action coaches, encouragement for tie-down roper, football quarterback, 4-H Key Award recipient Cash Fuesz.
Proudest grandpas and grandmas Gary and Vicki Fuesz and Clint and Irlene Huntington encourage support for everything Cash Fuesz does. Clinton Laflin, Kansas State University Extension livestock production specialist serving Russell and Ellsworth counties, provides inspiration, advice, and encouragement for his brother Cash Fuesz in all endeavors.
Life in The Entertainment Capital is much different than a Greenwood County, Kansas, Flint Hills ranch Cash Fuesz of Eureka found out when he and Grey were in Las Vegas for the Junior World Finals Rodeo.