LEWISTOWN — On a typical day at his family’s home just outside of Lewistown, You can find Carson Patten feeding his goats, his horses, his dogs, his cats, his chickens or his pigeons.
There are lots of animals a the Patten place, but goats are the main attraction. There are over 70 of them. And Carson calls all of them by name.
“Stripes, Cuzco, Diaper, Lewis, Fiona, Foxy,” Carson tells us as he points.
But these aren’t just any goats. They’re TUF Goats for Rodeos to be exact. That’s the name of the business Carson runs with his family, bringing goats to high school and junior rodeos across the state nearly every weekend in the summer.
“I carry them in to the dirt. Know what numbers they are,” Patten said. "They always run back because they don’t like to leave."
You see, Carson’s kind of a big deal in the rodeo world. He has Down syndrome but has never let a disability stand in his way of achieving his goals and dreams. Several years ago, he took up roping and has entered several rodeo in team roping, breakaway and steer wrestling. His efforts caught the attention of the rodeo world including world champion tie-down ropers like Shane Hanchey and Tuf Cooper. Cowboys that Carson now counts among his many, many friends.
“I saw Tuf down in Cody,” Carson tells us. "I hope he’s coming to see me in the Roy Rodeo.”
Carson’s caretaker Heather Gueths is moved by the generosity that high profile rodeo figures pay to Carson.
“Tuf Cooper takes him to his trailer,” she said. "They rope together, they spend hours together. I just think that’s unbelievably kind."
Carson’s attitude and work ethic came from his parents Kaylene and Carl. But his life skills were nurtured by 18 years of Special Olympics. He’s a member of the Central Montana Eagles and competes in nearly every sport offered by SOMT including bowling, skiing, basketball, athletics and equestrian.
He never gives anything less than his best, and is also an SOMT Health Messenger.
“I like to stay in shape, exercise and ride my horse,” he said. “I’m still working on portion control."
Carson Patten is a true renaissance man - trying and succeeding at everything he sets his mind to.
"I think the Carson can show that you get up every day and you work hard and you can do it,” Gueths said. "You do what you got to do, and and you end up having a really good life.”