Boyz Will Be Boyz

Loralee Ward, Staff Writer

In the hills of southwestern Virginia roams Tanner Keith.

Tanner Keith spent the early days of his youth doctoring sick cattle and cutting down Christmas trees. The ever present scar on his left thigh gives merit to his fear of chainsaws. Luckily after this incident, his family got out of the Christmas tree business and began team penning.

At the ripe age of twenty-years-old, Tanner left home to live with professional team penner, Brian Buckner, in Mississippi.

During his apprenticeship, Tanner and Brian traveled the country to give clinics, sell horses, and compete. Their life resembled that of a 90s rock band.

Tanner decided to blaze his own trail after two years with Brian. He returned home to Virginia where he bought a thirteen horse trailer and a cherry red Volvo semi. Eager to hit the road again, Tanner crammed the trailer full of high caliber horses and his then eighteen-years-old brother Connor to hit the road full time—marking the conception of Keith Boyz Cowhorses.

While there are countless stories of Tanner and Connor’s adventures, I will only speak of those that I was in-person to witness. My first personal encounter with the Keith boyz involved tackle football in famous Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

I witnessed two scrawny Virginians run circles around kids twice their size. Not only did they have exceptional speed, they also had the incomparable ability to bounce back without the slightest notion of pain.

Their football skills matched their horse selling tenacity. While Tanner tried to hustle his mom’s horse to my brother Kody, we ended up bringing home a horse known nationwide as “The Cat Itchi Mare.” Despite Itchi’s quirks, she has stayed with our family for nearly a decade, becoming one of the highest-earning residents at the Lazy JWC Ranch. My brother’s journey resembles that of Tanner.

Kody, now twenty-years-old, just bought a ten horse trailer. He hopes to also throw his eighteen-years-old sibling behind the wheel to beat the pavement, though she has plans of her own.