story by Siri Stevens At the age of 10, Lola Parnell has more than 707m views on a viral video from Stockyards Championship Rodeo in […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Brendan Bennett
story by Lily Weinacht
Brendan Bennett joined the AJRA three years ago, and he finished the 2016 season with several titles to his name, including winning the optional roping, reserve in the all-around and tie-down roping, and third in the heeling. The 15 year old from Notrees, Texas, is currently second in the AJRA all-around, and he learned many of his rodeo skills from working on the Henderson ranch his dad manages. His parents, Kevin and Stepheny Bennett, have both competed, whether in team roping or local barrel racing, and Brendan began his own rodeo career when he was seven or eight. “Rodeo is something I’ve always had the desire to do, and eventually I’d like to be a world champion,” he says.
Brendan competes in the AJRA in all of the roping events, heading for Zant Lewis and heeling for Joel Braden Harris. “Team roping is probably my favorite, because it’s what I started out doing, and I have a really nice horse in the team roping and tie-down roping,” he explains. Brendan also competes in the THSRA Region II, entering all the roping events, while he won the boys cutting for his region this year.
Several professional ropers including Tuf Cooper and Rich Skelton have helped Brendan in his roping. He attended a Tuf Cooper roping school in 2014 and multiple schools with Rich, including a horsemanship/roping clinic with Chris Cox. “I want to thank the Lord for helping me and giving me the talent and ability to do this, and my mom and dad for helping me get to the rodeos. They help keep my horses in shape and they’re always behind me going down the road. My dad’s boss, Sonny Henderson, has helped us with our arena and countless other things, Fred Wight and Oscar Lares keep roping stock around our house, and Corey Gray keeps my horses shod and sound. I also want to thank my uncle, Judson Bennett, for letting me ride his good head horse for the AJRA rodeos and some jackpots, and Tres Rios Silver, who is one of my main sponsors.”
Esher, Judson’s head horse, stays with Brendan during rodeo season, while he rides two heel horses, Bubba and Mighty Mouse. “Mighty Mouse was my dad’s heel horse – he’s been around here for a long time – and I rope calves on Rio. As long as it’s not freezing or blowing like a tornado, practice is almost every night of the week since we have lights. Usually my dad and my uncle are there, and my good friend Will Jordan. My mom will video practice runs if we need to watch them.”
The Bennett family lives 22 miles outside of Odessa, Texas. Brendan’s younger brother and sister, Bryson, 10, and Brielee, 6, help with ranch work, and Brielee recently started barrel racing. “Bryson helps us work cattle, but he’s more interested in basketball than rodeo,” says Brendan. “He’s pretty supportive of my rodeos, and I try to make as many basketball games as I can.”
A sophomore, Brendan does his schoolwork between working on the ranch with his dad. He switched to homeschooling in fifth grade, and especially enjoys science. “I like animal science and learning about the different species,” he explains. He and his brother and sister recently finished showing at their county fair. Brendan showed a Hereford steer that came from his grandma, and Bryson and Brielee showed rabbits. Any other free time is spent hunting with his family.
With high school state finals approaching in June, Brendan’s goal is to qualify for Nationals. “I want to thank Chad and Amie Bushaw for keeping me mounted in the cutting. I’m placed high in the tie-down roping, and second in the team roping with Brody Rankin,” Brendan finishes. “And in the AJRA, I hope there are many world championships to come!”