Creswell, Education, Sports Zone

Rope. Dance. Demolish. All in a day’s work for Bones

Levi Bones, a 2019 Creswell graduate and CHS equestrian team member, ropes a calf in just 4.863 seconds, the fastest catch of the day in Breakaway Roping while competing in the regional Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship, held June 14-16 in Redmond. Photo provided/Stalnakers

Just give Levi Bones something active to do, whether constructive or ”deconstructive,” and he’s happy. The 2019 Creswell High School grad, who turned 18 on July 6, is spending his summer expanding his competitive steer roping skills, bucking hay, working hard and playing hard – and soon he’ll begin doing interior demolition for Staton Companies.
But it’s the roping in particular and equestrian competition in general that have captured Bones’ interest and much of his time over the past few years – ever since older sister Devin bought a horse when Bones was entering his sophomore year.
”She’d been doing equestrian, so I kind of wanted to ride equestrian – and then I kind of got hooked on it once I made it to state my first year,” said Bones, who as a member of the CHS equestrian team placed 17th at state in working rancher in 2017.
Bones’ success was even more notable his junior and senior years. In 2018, he placed second in steer daubing at regionals after placing seventh at state, where he also placed 10th in Freestyle Fours (with Hope Walpole, Jane Marquess and Grace Haga) and competed in breakaway roping and two-man birangle (with Haga).
At regionals in 2019, Bones placed third in Freestyle Fours (with Ashley Anderson, Marquess and Haga) and fifth in breakaway roping, after placing second in both at state, where he also placed 15th (with Haga) in birangle; 16th in working rancher; 17th (with Anderson and Haga) in team penning; 23rd (with Anderson, Haga, and sister Gracie Bones) in Canadian Flags; and 26th (with Anderson) in working pairs.
Cow events – especially roping – are Bones’ favorites. ”I throw a rope almost every day, and I want to start getting into team roping now that I’m out of high school,” he said.
In team roping, one team member is the ”header,” roping the steer’s horns or neck before using his horse to turn the steer to the left, and the other is the ”heeler,” roping the steer’s hind feet once it’s been turned; the team with the fastest time wins.
Bones credits roping coach Tyson Green for his rapid improvement in the event.
”He completely changed my form last year and I started catching more,” Bones said. ”He even went to state with me this year to coach me through it, and I had my fastest times, with PRs at state and regionals.”
Although Green lives in Madras, Oregon, ”I’ve hauled over there probably four times to work with him,” Bones said. ”He fixed my problem of leaning forward on my horse by making me ride his horse – and he trains his horses to set their feet like concrete once you make a catch.”
He leaves his listener to imagine the predictable outcome, and just how memorable – and motivating – it would be as a teaching aid.
Bones said Green has also improved his swing and how he comes out of the box. ”He’s had me work on my arm – then forget my arm, and focus on my horse,” Bones said.
A three-sport athlete (equestrian, basketball and football) at CHS, Bones also earned football honors his senior year – the only year he played; he was voted Most Improved and received Honorable Mention All-League as a defensive lineman.
While Bones is certainly focused and hardworking when it counts, his outwardly serious demeanor conceals a fun-loving personality and lively sense of humor.
He’s even been known to ”cut a rug” or two.
Bones, his five siblings and parents James ”Nevin” and Denise Bones all enjoy country swing dancing, and Bones skillfully performed a country swing dance during the talent/skit segment of the 2019 Mr. Bulldog Pageant – an annual fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network – held April 20 at CHS.
”My dad is the family’s main dancer; he kind of started all of us out,” Bones said. ”I see my dad swing dance a lot, and almost every time our favorite song, ‘Cadillac Ranch’ comes on, we all start swing dancing.”
For his Mr. Bulldog dance, Bones recruited friend Payden Criddle to wear a wig as his ”female” partner. Watching the duo spin and dip was impressive enough – but Bones and Criddle also incorporated lifts and other aerial moves into their routine, with Bones acting as the base and Criddle as the flyer, executing aerial backflips and other ”intermediate” and ”advanced”-rated country swing dancing moves.
Incredibly, the pair only began practicing five days before the Pageant – and reportedly, just a couple times.
”I’d been looking for somebody to work with me and everybody said no, so all of a sudden I decided to call Payden, and he said sure, why not,” Bones deadpanned, although those ”no’s” to being tossed backward through the air with no dance or gymnastics experience and no mat underneath seem a mite more reasonable than Criddle’s breezy ”why not” – an observation Bones responds to with a good-natured chuckle.
It all came off without a hitch, though, leaving the crowd enthusiastically cheering as emcee Matt Templeman called Bones over to congratulate and question him about his dance experience and skit preparation.
At the time, Bones simply credited his dad’s teaching– but the detailed answer is no less remarkable: ”I just watched my dad dance at my sister’s wedding and at (friend) Hannah Thomas’ wedding, he taught me once, I watched videos – and Payden and I just did what they showed,” Bones said, as casually as if such things were pulled off every day by untrained amateurs.
And perhaps, in Bones’ world, they are. Perhaps performing advanced dance stunts after watching a video is perfectly ordinary for the guy who qualified for state his first year and regionals his second year as an equestrian and earned All-League honors his only year playing football.
Next, Bones will apply his (extra)ordinary kinesthetic ability to his team roping and demolition work.
Why demolition?
”I’m good at breaking stuff.” Said as if the answer were self-evident.
And perhaps it is, at that.



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