Meet the Member Ryan Bestol
story by Lindsay Humphrey “I’m not much of a planner,” said Ryan Bestol of his storied rodeo career so far. “When I get something in […]
story by Lindsay King
Rodeo is anyone’s game, if they are willing to work for it, something Chandler Comfort from Elwood, Nebraska, particularly likes about the sport. “It does not matter who you are roping against, you can miss and so can your competition. There is never a rodeo where you cannot beat someone, you just have to step up and work for it,” said the 19-year-old heeler and calf roper. Chandler grew up in Colby, Kansas, until his family moved to Nebraska a year ago.
“I have been roping since I was eight, my dad, Greg, taught me. I have never done anything but team rope until this year when I decided to learn how to calf rope.” His first rodeo was the summer before his freshman year. “I was a header for a long time but then I was messing around one day on the heel side and started to catch a lot.” A heeler for the past three years, Chandler made the high school finals both his junior and senior year. His success continued during his freshman year at Mid-Plains Community College. “I ended up winning the Great Plains Region in team roping. My partner, Samantha Jorgenson, and I had the chance to go to the CNFR to rope. We ended up fifth in the nation.”
Chandler is studying business administration with a minor in economics with aspirations to become a financial advisor. “I am also a student ambassador at school so between that, classes and rodeo, I stay pretty busy.” Chandler shoes horses on the side for extra rodeo cash. Ever since he was little it has been his goal to rodeo for a living. “When I graduate I will pursue that dream, sticking to one circuit at first and then working my way towards the NFR.” One rodeo Chandler is particularly looking forward to is Salinas. “It looks like fun to come out of the head box with the heeler. We have tried it some and made a few good runs. It will just be neat to try something different.”
When his family moved to Nebraska, Chandler decided to get his NSRA card to accompany his long-standing KPRA card. “The NSRA finals fit a lot better in the college rodeo schedule. A lot of the NSRA rodeos are closer to home, usually within two hours or less. It makes it easier to get to more.” His favorite rodeo is still his hometown KPRA rodeo. During the summer, when Chandler is not working with his dad on a feedlot in Lexington, he is on the road. “During school it is mostly just college rodeos and as many jackpots as I can get to.”
Chandler appreciates people who work hard to continuously improve, especially Clay O’Brien Cooper. “Times have changed but he is still at the top of his game. I like his drive and that he is always willing to get better.” His mental game stems from keeping a positive outlook for every run. “I try to remember that I am going to miss sometimes. I have to ride out of the arena and forget about it, so I don’t ruin my next run.”
Caitlin, his sister, is also a team roper and they have started roping together in the NSRA. “We have always practiced together but she has come a long way in the last few months.” Ultimately, Chandler is thankful to have a built-in roping partner in his family. “I just want to make sure and give credit where it is due: to my family and everyone who has helped me along the way. My favorite part of rodeo is how everyone supports each other, everyone is there to help and make sure we all come out of the chutes at our best.”
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