“During the week when my friends go to the movies, I am busy kayaking,” Puckett said. “There are a lot of sacrifices, not just a little.”
Puckett was 12 when he joined the OKC RIVERSPORT's Youth Sprint Kayak Program in 2007. He did so just to have fun and to stay in shape during the summer.
His father, Paul, had joined the OG&E corporate rowing team because doctors had advised him to get more exercise after a minor stroke.
At age 12, Puckett admits he was “very chubby.” In football, coaches played him on the offensive line.
“I was the big kid but the short kid,” he said. “I turned into an athlete two years later. Shaun got me into shape.”
Puckett got serious about kayaking after Caven was hired. A former British National coach, Caven guided Tim Brabents to the gold medal in kayaking in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
While Puckett doesn't get to live the life of a normal teenager because of his commitment to compete at a world class level, the trade off has been that kayaking has allowed him to travel the globe.
“I really like the people and the places kayaking takes you,” he said. “I have been to Lake Placid. I have been to Poland and I am probably going to Hungary and Canada this year. I am going to Seattle in two weeks to race in the Paddlers Cup. It's pretty exciting.”