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Meet the Member Nick Chew
story by Lily Weinacht
Nick Chew of Maybell, Colorado, put his boots in the stirrups of a bronc saddle for the first time four years ago. “My brother Clint started getting into bronc riding at the hometown rodeo,” says Nick, 25. “I watched him ride a bucking horse across the arena, and that’s what really made me want to start.” The brothers entered the county fair rodeo together and borrowed a bronc saddle from the stock contractor. “We had to use the same saddle, and we made it work, but it made the stock contractor nervous with only eight bronc riders entered,” Nick recalls. “I got my first three broncs under my belt at the county fair, and I just bounced along on top, but I made it about seven seconds. It definitely wasn’t something I was ready for, but I stuck with it because I love riding horses, and it’s rodeo’s classic event.”
Gone is the bouncing along on top – Nick now competes in the RMPRA, CPRA, WRA, and PRCA, covering two of his three broncs at the 2016 Mountain States Circuit Finals. He also competed on the rodeo team at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely for a year and a half, and qualified for the CNFR in 2016. “Coach Jed Moore has been the biggest help, and we still keep in touch. He does everything he can to help his students get the practice and the education they need.” While Nick has also gotten on a handful of bulls, bronc riding is a firm favorite. “Every older bronc rider I’ve ever talked to says to do it while you’re young. I don’t want to get too old too fast!” Nick says with a laugh.
Nick is the fourth generation of his family to work their ranch outside of Maybell. His great-great-grandfather who founded the ranch raised horses, and today, the Chews also run sheep and cattle. “The lambs are for meat, but we also raise some white-faced sheep for wool. We have guys that herd them out and stay with them, and we manage quite a few horses and have dogs as well. The cows don’t take as much time as the sheep do.” The family makes all their own horses, and Nick and his dad do most of the training. “I have a couple of all-around horses, but I’d just as soon be on a young one teaching it,” says Nick. “My brother and cousins do some training as well.”
In his very spare time, Nick enjoys the rare trip to the lake in the summer, or snowboarding at Steamboat Springs, home to the famous Cowboy Downhill. He does most of his traveling with his brother, and they can compete in a number of rodeos not far from their home in Northwest Colorado. “The RMPRA has been good – it’s one of the few places I can compete at in the winter given my location,” says Nick. “I’d love to go to their finals this year. I made the CPRA finals last year and ended up third in the average for the finals. I’d like to make it to the circuit finals again, and I’d love to go to Kissimmee someday, and Las Vegas. Of course, I want a gold buckle like everyone else, and I think about that a lot. But right now, it’s just for the love of riding, and if I pull a check, then I can afford to keep doing it!”