Meet the Member Zoey Cline
story by Lindsay Humphrey No stranger to junior high nationals, Zoey Cline from Corona, New Mexico, is optimistic she can make a third appearance on […]
story by Kyle Eustice
Fourteen-year-old Bryce Derrer is sitting in his motor home prepping for day five of the National Jr. High School Rodeo Finals in Lebanon, Tenn., where he’s laser focused on becoming the national champion. His supportive parents, Richard and Victoria, are along for the ride, and praying the hours, dedication, and efforts in the practice pen bear the fruit of nabbing the title.
Born in Indianapolis, IN, Bryce, his 12-year-old brother Jacob and parents moved to Portales, N.M. in 2009, where Bryce’s mother is from. Once settled in his new town, at age 7, Bryce was finally able to get on a pony, Elmo, for the first time, which his late grandparents Papa Gary and Nana Siro gave him the year before. He immediately fell in love with it. Eventually, he joined the Little Wranglers Jr. Rodeo Association, a small association in Roosevelt county, N.M.
“We’re super proud of him,” said Richard. “He’s put a lot of time and effort into it. The boys work really hard. Bryce didn’t start until he was a second grader. He had never ridden a horse until we moved to New Mexico.”
Bryce recently graduated from 8th grade and is currently homeschooled, which makes it easier to travel from event to event. Since joining the NMJRHS in 2014, he typically participates in the calf and team roping events.
“I showed up to my first rodeo when I was 12,” said Bryce. “I’ve liked it ever since. I really don’t do much else aside from school and chores.”
The Derrers live on a half section of property on the south side of Portales, where they run cattle and take care of their horses. Bryce’s favorite horse is his calf horse, Remmy. He’s been riding her for one year.
“She’s really high strung, but has a great personality,” said Bryce. “I’ve been taking rodeo seriously for the past two years and rodeoing a bunch. She’s really a great horse for it.”
Bryce won state in tie down at the NMJRHS earlier this year and was the reserve champion in ribbon roping for the past two years along with his ribbon roping partner, Shacie Marr.
“I love being able to socialize and meet new friends,” said Bryce. “The money is nice, too.”
Bryce has won a total of five saddles so far and plenty of other prizes. His aspirations are firmly intact, even as he juggles school, practice and chores at the ranch.
“I want to make it the finals at the NFR,” said Bryce. “I know I have to practice, practice, practice, and keep my mental state right. I just focus on what I’m going to do when I run and how I’m going to do it. I just love it because you have to be athletic to do it and stay in shape.”
While his mother acts as the bookkeeper for the family’s horseshoeing business, tends to her children and hauls Bryce to his events, Bryce’s father works full-time as a fairier. “I help my dad shoe a lot,” said Bryce.
In his free time, he enjoys eating spaghetti, watching movies, taking care of his four dogs—Hooey, Ranger, Charlie, and George—and listening to country music. His parents are thrilled with his ambitious goals and unwavering work ethic.
“He would rope seven days a week, 18 hours a day if he could,” jokes Richard. “He wants to be the next world champion. It’s his passion.”
“I think it’s great for cultivating leaders for tomorrow,” adds Victoria. “Our whole family is dedicated to our kids and to the organizations that make this lifestyle possible. We are willing to help our and everyone’s kids meet their potential.”
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