Story by Siri Stevens Joyce Barnes has been involved with the Moffat County High School Rodeo Club for 12 years. She started when her oldest, […]
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Meet the Member Danny Prior
story by Lily Weinacht
Danny Prior spurred his way to the 2017 CSHSRA Saddle Bronc Riding Champion title this season, winning his first state title his rookie year. “I was a little worried about it (finals) and I wasn’t sure that someone wasn’t going to pass me up, but I went in with the mindset that I was going to ride and hopefully go to Nationals.”
The 17-year-old from Lakewood, Colorado, started riding broncs two years ago, inspired by the stories his grandmother told him about his saddle bronc riding great-grandfather. “He rode in the twenties and thirties, and my grandma told me about him. I’ve always looked up to him and wanted to follow in his footsteps,” says Danny. His grandfather and several of his cousins have also competed, and when Danny decided to start his own rodeo career, he attended the Sankey Rodeo School in Penrose, Colorado. “Once I started doing it, I fell in love with it and wanted to keep doing it. I have a good job that allows me to keep doing rodeo and parents that support me – I’m pretty lucky to keep doing it. The rodeo school really helped me out, and the guy who taught it, Paul Schultz, is who inspired me to keep doing it.”
Danny started rodeoing in the CSHSRA last fall, and he won Cortez, the first rodeo he covered a bronc at. “That helped me out a lot,” he says. “I’m always trying to improve. Right now I’m getting down the spurring motion on the horse, covering as many as I can, and constantly trying to get better. I follow Cody DeMoss and Clay Elliott. Those two taught a school I went to, and I like following along with them because they’ve helped me out and I like to see them ride.”
This summer, Danny and his friend and fellow saddle bronc rider, Kole Ashmore, are working for stock contractor Jon Suttee of Infinity Rodeo on his ranch in Encampment, Wyoming. “He was the stock contractor at the Rifle rodeo, and Dave Hoffman told me about Jon and said to talk to him, and I ended up getting a job for the summer. We’re averaging twenty miles a day gathering cows and I’m riding Jon’s horses. He has a couple younger horses I’m training and some colts I’m riding. Kole and I will be here all summer. We get a lot of riding time, which helps with bronc riding balance-wise, and living in a walled tent is fun. We’ve had a lot of wind, but not much rain, and we do all our cooking – mainly ramen,” Danny says with a laugh. He and Kole will be able to take time off to compete in the NHSFR, and they’ll make the four hour drive up to Gillette, where Danny’s parents are meeting them.
Danny is a senior this fall at Golden High School, and he particularly enjoys metal shop. “I enjoy going there and welding, and the teacher is really cool. I’m in advanced, so we get to build our own things, and I made a welding table.” Danny also likes fishing in the Encampment River on Jon’s ranch, but he’s more likely on horseback, either moving cows or getting on practice broncs. He rarely leaves for a rodeo without a small Bible in his gear bag, given to him by Dave Hoffman at one of the Cowboy Churches.
“I want to thank my parents, Jane and Les Prior. They’ve helped me out a lot in allowing me to do this and they’ve been a big help to me,” Danny concludes. “After high school, I’m probably going to rodeo and work on some ranches. I’m going to try to go in the PRCA and make it all the way to the NFR.”