story by Lindsay Humphrey Last summer, Emily changed her last name from Vinton to Finney when she married Doug. It was a match made at […]
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Meet the Member Garrett Long
story by Lindsay King
Only three years on the saddle bronc scene, yet Garrett Long from Valentine, Nebraska, has already made a trip to nationals with plans for another this summer. “Making it to nationals last year was and is my proudest moment in rodeo so far. I came into bronc riding late and it was hard to come up and make a name for myself,” said the 18 year old. He was seventh at state his sophomore year and third as a junior. In his last state finals, Garrett hopes to win. “State finals in Hastings is my favorite rodeo to compete at. The environment is so much better. It is more hyped up than anywhere else we compete at in the state during the year, and rightfully so.” His main goal this summer is making the short go at nationals for the first time.
Last year was Garrett’s rookie year in the M-SRA and he plans to go to more events this summer. “I had a bunch of high school camps last year, so I only got to a few M-SRA rodeos. I like going all over the state and competing against the older guys who know what they are doing. And the stock we ride are always nice, we don’t ever get on any bad stock.” Garrett is a recent graduate of Valentine High School and is looking at college options specifically in Wyoming. “I have not decided on a specific school yet, just that area. Those schools have good ranch-based agriculture programs and their rodeo teams are top of the line. A big part of my college decision is based on where I will want to rodeo.” The most amazing thing to happen to Garrett was receiving a scholarship from the Salvation Army this spring. “Only about ten kids in the state get it. It is all about overcoming hardships in life. I had to be nominated for it and it felt good to be picked out of a crowd to get it.” Garrett lost his father Zane in 2004 and his uncle, Shawn Elliott, who stepped in as a father figure, passed away three years ago.
“My sister Sheyanne, 22, always did rodeo when she was younger, and I liked it so I tried it.” Garrett mainly roped in junior high but looked up to Tristan Akland. “When Tristan started riding broncs it made me want to do it also. That is all I have competed in ever since.” Garrett also looks up to the ever-humble Cort Shear. “When he talks to us, he never talks like he is above us. He is there to help and wants to make us ride as well as he does.” Garrett tries his best not to overthink his ride by having a buddy with him behind the chutes keeping him distracted up until he gets on. “Riding broncs is an adrenaline rush like no other. Making a good ride is a feeling that you just can’t get from anywhere else. Bronc riding is an entirely different sport and event, you put a lot on the line every time you climb on.”
Garrett rode broncs in addition to playing three sports in high school: football, wrestling and track. He was a safety and wide receiver in football and ran the 4×1 relay, open 100 and pole vaulted in track, but wrestling was his favorite. “I just found it to be more fun, I had to prove myself without relying on anybody else.” Garrett and his sister were always responsible for helping pay their rodeo entry fees, something they always found to be fair. “Last summer I started working at the golf course in Valentine. I park cars, carry bags and wash carts. Before that I worked on a ranch.” His mom has always been very supportive of rodeo, working extra to help pay to go down the rodeo road.