Meet the Member Ryan Bestol
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 […]
story by Lily Weinacht
Zane Smith from Broken Bow, Nebraska, has been competing in rodeo’s classic event since high school. In 2016, he had his best season yet and qualified for the NSRA, KPRA, and M-SRA finals rodeos in the saddle bronc riding, finishing fourth in the NSRA year-end standings with nearly $6,400. “I wouldn’t know what to do with my time if I didn’t rodeo,” says the 25 year old. “I’d get bored pretty easy!”
He first started on the timed event end of the arena in middle school, but finding the right rope horse proved challenging. “I was never really mounted, and I didn’t like having to haul a horse,” says Zane, who high school rodeoed in Nebraska four years. “It was way simpler to get in my car and go. I tried riding bulls and bareback for a while, but I had more time invested in saddle bronc riding, so that event made the most sense to me. I had buddies that high school rodeoed, and they helped me take rodeo more seriously and figure some things out. It didn’t necessarily come easy – it just takes time and practice.”
Following high school, Zane rodeoed four years for Chadron State College and graduated with a bachelor’s in Ag. Business. “My rodeo coach in college, Dustin Luper, was a lot of help, and a good guy all around. I learned a lot, and it was a good experience. My parents have been really supportive and encouraging too,” Zane adds.
Though he was the first to rodeo in his family, Zane says it came as no surprise to his parents. “I think they saw it coming – we ranch near Broken Bow and we’ve been around rodeo our whole lives. My two older brothers, Will and Wyatt, started riding after me, and my younger brother and sister, Caleb and Hannah, also started rodeoing. My brother-in-law, Patrick Martin, ropes calves, and he helped me get started.” The family is often in the stands watching at the rodeos close to home, and Zane’s brother Wyatt travels with him on occasion.
During the off season, Zane does day work on ranches, as well as working feedlots, fencing, and construction. “I do just about anything for whoever needs help. Work stays pretty steady. I try to rodeo as much as I can in the summer, and I like the travel as long as it’s going well,” he jokes. “McKracken, Kansas, is always fun – they have a really good crowd, and all the Nebraska rodeos are a pretty good time.” He enjoys being outdoors, especially hunting or fishing, and rides his spur board between rodeos. “I used to go to some practice pens in high school, but not so much anymore. It’s less common to find a practice pen for broncs than it is for bulls,” Zane explains.
His goals include competing in the NSRA another season and improving his skills. “I’d like to get my PRCA card and try the pro circuit,” he finishes, “so the goal is to continue rodeoing and see where the chips fall!”
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