Meet the Member Wes Bray
story by Lily Weinacht Wes Bray clinched his goal for his final season of high school rodeo, finishing in the top 20 in the nation […]
story by Lily Weinacht
“Rodeo is really my passion in life. I love being around horses and training them to do those events,” says Tanner McInerney. “It’s cool to see the horses you’ve trained be able to compete.” This is Tanner’s fourth year in the WHSRA and he’s sitting second in the all-around, steer wrestling, and team roping. He’s gone to the NHSFR twice and was the state steer wrestling champion in 2015, followed by winning a pickup in 2016 for clinching the Sheridan Elk Youth Rodeo All-Around Cowboy title. “Rodeo has been in the family for years on both sides, and my dad’s family used to put on rodeos (Spearfish Rodeo Co.) and they had all the stock. My family owns a ranch, so the western way of life is the way I was brought up.”
Tanner, 18, lives near Alzada, Montana, 1 mile from the Wyoming state line, and 3 miles from the South Dakota state line. He practices on weekends in the winter since he plays basketball during the week. He and his team roping partner, header Weston Mills, just started roping together this season, while Tanner also competes in tie-down roping. “I like that roping is something that doesn’t just come; it’s something you have to practice and work for and devote your life to. I like practicing all the time and seeing that pay off. Steer wrestling is a very physical sport and it’s especially what my dad’s side of the family did, so I have a lot of good teachers I can learn from. It’s a lot of fun and a really big adrenaline rush, and my dad hazes for me. My family has pretty much taught me everything I know.”
Tanner is the youngest of five. His parents are Tim and Terri Raye, and two of his siblings, Brent and Kelsie, along with Kelsie’s husband, Colt, live on the family ranch. Their sisters Mackenzie and Kayla, live close by. “They all still rodeo and rope, so we have a pretty good group to rope with,” says Tanner. “We raise all our own roping and bulldogging cattle, and right now we’re running about 900 head of mama cows. My dad started the ranch.” Tanner is right there with his family running the ranch, and he personally runs 50 head of sheep that he sells to 4-H and FFA members. He shows sheep, cattle, and pigs in 4-H in Montana, but does livestock judging for FFA at state conventions in Wyoming. The McInerneys are also avid hunters and even guide other hunters on their ranch, and they always make a point to spend a weekend at the lake every summer.
On the horse side, Tanner rides a 9-year-old gelding, Whiskey, in the tie-down roping. The family bought him as a yearling and trained him for team roping before he became Tanner’s number-one calf horse. “Snort is a gelding that I heel on, and I just bought him last year from a guy in South Dakota. He’s 17 years old and just a solid horse who’s been everywhere and done everything. The bulldogging horse I’m on right now, Fancy, is one my sister bought off the track as a two-year-old for a barrel prospect. I bought her from my sister to try steer wrestling on her, and a year and a half ago she really took a liking to it.”
After he graduates from Hulett High School this spring, Tanner plans to attend college and college rodeo. He’s especially enjoyed welding in Ag. shop this year, where he recently built a cattle loading chute. “I’d like to get some kind of degree in the agricultural field. I think it’s every kid’s dream to go to the NFR someday, and then I’d like to have my own ranch someday.”
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