Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Meet the Member: Brandon Pippenger
story by Rayne Sherman
Brandon Pippenger of Avila, Ind., has been riding bulls for six years and has been a member of the Mid States Rodeo Association (MSRA) for four years.
Brandon, 27, did not grow up around rodeo and is the only member of his family involved with the sport. He started competing in the speed events in 4-H when he was ten. He was introduced to speed events by the son of his sister Nicole’s riding lesson teacher. Brandon participated in 4H for six years before beginning to compete in open barrel races, which he did for four years. He joined NBHA one year and qualified for the state finals.
On a fateful Saturday night Brandon attended the bull riding at Hat Creek Arena in Van Wert, Ohio, and ran into his distant cousin, Coleman Rude who was riding that night. Brandon and Coleman discussed bull riding and Coleman offered to help him if he decided to try it. The next weekend Brandon took Coleman up on his offer and found a new passion. For the first couple of years he entered a few local rodeos, but mainly competed in open bull ridings. Brandon feels he started riding really well two years ago. That year he had travelled extensively with Trent Martin and Derek Lambright and the three had big plans and goals for the next year. Their plans were cut short when Derek suddenly passed away. A memorial bull riding was held in Derek’s honor and Brandon won the buckle at the event, an accomplishment that means a lot to him because of his friendship with Derek. Brandon qualified for the Mid States Finals Rodeo (MSFR) for the first time that year and finished second at the finals. Last year, Brandon qualified for the MSFR a second time and finished second at the finals and second in the year end standings.
Outside of rodeo Brandon works at the auction barn in Shipshewana, Ind., and for a neighbor who has a small white tail deer farm. He also enjoys hunting and fishing. This year Brandon hopes to win the MSRA bull riding championship and the average at the MSFR. He and his travelling partner Trent Martin also plan to attend the rodeo in St. Tite, Quebec. Brandon is also a three year member of the International Professional Rodeo Association and would like to qualify for his first International Finals Rodeo this year. In addition to his rodeo goals, Brandon is hoping to move to Texas later this year.
“I enjoy rodeo because of the friendships I’ve made. Rodeo is like a family. Trent got me into the MSRA and I like the association because the rodeos are close to home. It’s pretty tight-knit and everyone is friends,” said Brandon.