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2018 Western States Ranch Rodeo 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stop Champion Ranch Bronc Rider Joel Baer
by Naomi Loomis,
WSRRA Association Representative
The American cowboy has been a worldwide icon since the early 1800s. Today the heritage, values, and traditions of the working ranch are still alive and well. Ranch cowboys are out there living the lifestyle – calving, branding, gathering and doctoring cattle – keeping our ranching traditions alive. In the late 1800s, bronc riding became a form of public entertainment at Wild West shows. But by the 1990s, ranch rodeos were gaining in popularity, featuring working cowboys as contestants. Ranch bronc riding, which resembles bronc-riding events held at the turn of the 20th century, became a featured event.
8 Seconds Whiskey tour stops started in 2014, when 8 Seconds Whisky became a WSRRA National Sponsor. “We started 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stops to promote them as national sponsors and to promote our larger pursed sanctioned ranch bronc ridings,” Marc Page said. The tour stops are a points-based system for WSRRA carded members who place in the promoted events.
In 2018, WSRRA and 8 Seconds Whisky awarded Joel Baer a Gist Silversmiths Champion buckle. Joel ended the 2018 WSRRA Rodeo season with 674 Tour Stop points, and the Championship.
Joel Baer is a 21 year old originally from Alberta Canada but now makes his home in Great Falls, Montana. Joel started riding ranch bronc when he was 18. “I got on my first ranch bronc in Browning, Montana. I got bucked off so I had them run another one in after the rodeo and covered it.” Riding a ranch bronc is really hard to describe, but Joel’s answer to my question went like this: “Haha…. It’s a blacked out adrenaline rush. It feels like a stick of dynamite going off and you’re on it.”
Well getting to the top of the leader boards takes a lot of time on the road, a lot of dedication to the sport and a little luck. “Last year was a great year. I just seemed to draw up almost everywhere I entered. I was feeling good and riding strong. I went to around 40 bronc ridings this year,” states Joel.
Joel ended up breaking his leg at the end of July putting him a little behind but that did not stop this cowboy’s dream of being a world champion and being the 8 Seconds Whiskey Tour Stop Champion meant a lot to Joel. “It means a lot. I had a total of 674 points. I just tried to enter the rodeos with the most points and where I knew good broncs would be.”
One of the best things that I enjoy about ranch bronc riders, is listening to them talk about all the broncs that have been on, the broncs that they want to get on and the broncs that they would prefer not to get on. Joel is no different. “My favorite bronc is “Ryan” of the King Rodeo. I would like to have a rematch with #186 Wood Eater of King Rodeo.”
Ranch bronc riding is a great rodeo sport that I don’t see going away. Ranch bronc riding is becoming the event of the west, and Joel is one of those cowboys that makes riding a ranch bronc look easy. “Ranch bronc riding according to Joel, is using a little of your legs and a little of your hands. I asked Joel “What has made you successful at riding ranch bronc? ” His reply, “Never quitting until I’ve been bucked off and staying aggressive with my feet.”
“Joel, name five things you take with you on the rodeo trail?” “God, my saddle, gear bag, a bedroll and a good attitude about life.”
Joel is already looking forward to his 2019 goals. “My goals for 2019 is to try and win the WSRRA Ranch Bronc riding World Champion title, and also take what I have learned riding ranch broncs and use it to help further my saddle bronc riding career to a pro level. As a loyal contestant I’d like to have an impact on an official rule book that has logic behind the rules, along with clarity and consistency that will better the association.
Joel describes some of his 2019 rodeo trail goals. “I really want to get in the Last Man Standing. I plan on entering Blasdell ND, and Killdeer ND because they were 2 of my favorites last summer. They were really well put on and, the horses were very consistent thanks to Kling Rodeo, and Mossbruckers.”
Joel would like to add this: “I’d just like to thank the Lord for the opportunity and ability to ride broncs. I’m thankful for all the good friends and people I have met along the way. A big thanks to my rodeo parents Reo and Shannon Eaton for helping me keep my head on straight.”
Joel, on behalf of the WSRRA, congratulations on being the 2018 WSRRA 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stop Champion.