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
Thomas Davis is a fourth generation cattle rancher, helping his family make their living in the Wyoming country outside of Osage. And while the 18 year old is living his family’s history, he’s also making history of his own, the first of the Davis’s to compete in rodeo. “I started steer wrestling the winter of my freshman year, and I added bareback riding the next year,” says Thomas. He calls steer wrestling his campaigner event and is most consistent in it, but bareback riding is currently his favorite. “I’m still learning, so every ride is an adrenaline rush – even more than it would be if I knew what I was doing!” he jokes. But his accomplishments suggest otherwise, including qualifying for the 2015 NHSFR in bareback riding, and placing fourth in the nation in the bareback at the 2016 NLBFR. He also qualified for the NHSFR in shooting sports his freshman and sophomore years.
Though Thomas started his rodeo career later than many of the athletes he competes with, his family, friends, and community have faithfully spurred him on. “I have quite a few friends with sons competing in the PRCA, and they help me practice. Two of the people that have helped me the most are my dad, Mike Davis, and my friend Chance Ames. Dad’s helped me every step of the way and gone to schools with me so we could learn together, and he hazed for me my sophomore year. I look up to Chance Ames, Brian Brown, and Hunter Carlson – they all ride like champions – and Chance is the kind of friend that’s there when you need him, and keeps you looking forward instead of letting you hang your head.”
His mount in the steer wrestling is Leavenworth, a 17-year-old gelding he purchased from steer wrestler Clayton Swan. “My old bull dogging horse had gotten cut in a fence and I needed a horse bad,” says Thomas. “Leavenworth was the first one I looked at. He was a lot of horse for me – he’d been on the pro circuit – and it took about two years to click. Now he’s one of the best friends I have, and he’s taken me to the next level. Instead of throwing 9s and 10s, if I do everything right, he gives me the shot to win the rodeo every time.”
Presently, Thomas’s dad isn’t able to haul him to rodeos, so Thomas and his mom, Alison Davis, do all their travelling together. “We live 30 miles from town, where my mom works at a grade school, so I’ll bring my horse into town before a rodeo and leave him with a friend,” Thomas explains. “I get out of school, pick up Mom and the horse, and we haul butt to the rodeos!”
A senior at Upton High School, Thomas is partial to his welding class, where he is a teacher’s aide this year. “I’ve been welding since I was a freshman, and I’ve always been interested in doing it with my dad,” he says. “I’ll be helping the freshmen coming in this year.” He also plays fullback and nose guard for the US Patriots, who were state champions last year. The remainder of his day is devoted to helping with his family’s cow/calf operation and riding colts. “I’m a pretty big hunter, and I draw an elk tag every year,” he adds.
“My biggest goal in rodeo every year is to have fun. I’m in the rodeo world so I can see new places and meet new people. I’m a competitive person, but if I don’t do good, it’s not a big deal. I have plenty of steers and broncs to ride in my lifetime, so I make the best of what I have, put a smile on my face, and go on to the next one!”
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