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 […]
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Meet the Member Tamara Lujan
story by Lily Weinacht
“Rodeo is definitely a passion of mine,” says Tamara Lujan (Tunink). “With all the hard work it takes, I wouldn’t rodeo if I didn’t love it, and there isn’t anything else I’d do in its place.” The 22-year-old cowgirl from Hawley, Texas, has been rodeoing since childhood, growing up on horseback and following her dad’s bootprints into the roping world. “My dad always team roped, and I started with gymkhanas and Little Britches rodeos before I high school rodeoed for Colorado,” Tamara explains. She grew up in Fowler, Colorado, and moved to Texas to attend Western Texas College (WTC) in Snyder for three years. She competed on their rodeo team and won the breakaway roping at the CNFR in 2015, which was also her rookie year with the NSRA. Tamara won the year-end in the breakaway roping at their 2015 finals, and transferred that fall to Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock.
“In 2015, I went to four or five NSRA rodeos over the Fourth of July, and then I did their co-approved rodeos with the CPRA and made it to the Nebraska finals in the top five,” she says. Tamara finished in the top 15 in the breakaway for the 2016 season, while also competing in the USTRC and World Series of Team Roping. “I compete in the mixed team roping as a header with Kyon Kreutzer in the CPRA, but breakaway is my favorite event. In a way, there’s less pressure, because if I make a mistake, it’s on me.
“I really look up to Mike and Lorie Diodosio,” she adds. “They’re friends with my dad, and I practically grew up at their house learning how to ride and rope.” Lorie won the women’s all-around and barrel racing titles in the CPRA last fall, and Tamara finished seventh in the breakaway roping. She’s ridden a bay mare named Honeypie since 2010, competing in both breakaway and team roping in high school and college rodeos. “She’s an awesome horse and she’s great at what she does – she’s been my main mount through it all. Right now I head off a five-year-old gray gelding, Moses, that my family raised.”
Although Tamara finished her final season of college rodeo last year, she’s able to keep her horses at TTU’s equestrian center and practice there while she finishes her senior year. “I help out with the rodeo team, running chutes and being a part of things – the only difference is that I don’t compete,” she says. Tamara’s younger brother is a bull rider and team roper at Clarendon College in Texas, and their family comes from Colorado for every rodeo. Tamara will graduate in May with her bachelor’s in Agricultural Economics, and she’s enjoyed doing more of her schoolwork at the university, rather than studying on the way to rodeos.
A newlywed, Tamara married her husband, Brandon, in August of 2016, and though he doesn’t rodeo, he’s a wholehearted supporter. The couple first met at a mutual friend’s wedding, and they’ve since found a common pursuit in hunting. “I’d never shot a gun before Brandon and I met,” Tamara says with a laugh, “but I’ve picked up on it!”
She’s taking the winter off from rodeo to concentrate on graduating, but she and Brandon plan to stay in Texas, and Tamara’s next goal is finding the best way to put her degree to work.