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 by Lindsay King
Typically, taking off for a rodeo means loading the horses up in a trailer, Deb Cox from Mullen, Nebraska, remembers loading them into the back of a truck. “My mom and I really had nothing but we just made it work somehow. We would get to a little britches rodeo in the middle of the night after she worked all day and then she would wash out the back of the trailer, once we had one, and that is where we would sleep.” A single mother with no rodeo background did everything in her power to make sure Deb got down the rodeo road while she was growing up. “She still is my number one supporter. I remember when I left for college, she gave me her last ten dollars.” Rodeo has become a life-long pursuit for Deb, all thanks to her mom. “All I do is rodeo, it is all I think and talk about. I have barrel raced for 55 years, it is an addiction for sure.” Deb is also handy with a rope, qualifying for the WPRA finals in team roping back in the day. Somehow her WPRA card number is only 298. “I married a rancher in 1977. It worked out well because we would do a lot of ranching while I was training barrel horses. Now I have to dream up different things for horses to do since I am not on a ranch.” Deb always takes her time training horses, spending years, instead of only months, with them. “I have sold a lot of horses who have been successful and most owners keep them for a long time.” In 1974 Deb was the NSRA Rookie for the Year, qualifying for world cups and circuit finals for several years to follow.
In 1996, Deb decided to take time off rodeo and picked up golfing instead. “I took it up with a passion, I hit 100 golf balls a day. I can never go at anything half hearted so I just went nuts.” One of the premier golf courses in the world is located in Mullen, but Deb has been all the way to tournaments in Palm Springs, California, and Tucson, Arizona, with a LPGA team. “There is a lot of mental game to it, which I really enjoyed. You have to stay focused for a long time.” After six years of golfing, Deb got back to rodeo in a big way. It had been 25 years since her last visit to the NSRA finals until she found the perfect horse. “Casino got me back into the game. He is a three-quarter brother to Cassidy Kruse’s horse that she took to the NFR. As I got older I had to get rid of the fear factor of riding so fast. He has allowed to me get past that and be fairly competitive.” A trip to the NSRA finals two years ago helped Deb get talked into becoming the barrel racing director for the association again. “It is a tough association; we have some of the best competitors in the U.S. here in the NSRA. We have a lot of pros come back for our big rodeos. I am just proud to be part of this association.”
After a divorce in 1996, Deb decided to go to income tax school to ensure her financial security, she did not know it would become her full-time job. “It just grew and grew. I have clients all the way from Texas to South Dakota. It is hard to have a business out in the middle of the sand hills but I make it work. I do a lot of it through the mail.” Specializing in agricultural and small businesses, Deb has many PRCA and NFR competitors as clients. Deb is a grandmother to Kellin, Keifer and Alexandra Rose, who belong to her daughter Scout and her husband Brady. Her most precious possession is her relationship with Jesus Christ, which started when she was only eight years old, the same time her rodeo career began. “The Lord has allowed me to do what I love and I am really thankful to him for it. If it was not for him, I do not know what I would do.”
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