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 Lindsay King
The day after high school graduation (2005), Blaine Bumguardner got a phone call from his uncle (Harold Bumguardner). Blaine had spent the previous summer with Harold up in Wyoming, but had little contact until that call. “I packed my things and moved up here. He roped steers and rodeoed. I was just following along behind him and figured I should do what he was doing,” said the Torrington, Wyoming, cowboy. Until then, Blaine had mostly just team roped throughout junior high and high school. “I had never even seen steer roping until I came up here and watched my uncle who was competing as a professional at the time.” Blaine roped his first steer in Laramie, Wyoming, back when the Jubilee Days still featured the event.
“My uncle always likes to have a student. I remember when I was younger that he always had a guy with him. At the time, I was the easy choice.” Blaine has since moved out of this student role, but still gleans any and all wisdom he can from his uncle about roping and life. Harold taught Blaine to truly appreciate the event and to carry the torch for the gritty steer ropers. “The hardest part about it is the stigma that every animal we run is crippled afterward. That political aspect is tough.” The steers Blaine practices on at home have been in the string for two years, proving that steer roping is safe when done correctly. “Surprisingly, the other hard part about the event is catching the steer around the horns. I get to thinking about other things and then forget about what is supposed to be the easiest part. It isn’t easy when you forget about it.” Blaine is thankful the NSRA produces so many rodeos with steer roping and the caliber at which they are ran.
Back when Blaine first got started as a steer roper, the event was just getting started again in the NSRA. “I was still young then, so I didn’t care about the politics of it. I also didn’t realize how hard it is to get steer roping at a rodeo.” When Blaine was just 18 years old, he was spending most of his time with the “old timers” of rodeo who steer roped back in the day. He credits the years spent with them for the man he is today.
As a professional steer roper, Harold was never short of good horse flesh. Blaine had his pick of the pen when he was first learning. “Last year when I started back up again, I just looked at my pen of horses and picked the best one I had to start in the steer roping. We tied three steers on him and then started going to jackpots.” Blaine doesn’t have a special mount for the event, he just gets by with what he has at the time.
Up until last May, Blaine had not tied a steer for twelve years. “I got married and didn’t have much time or money to go rodeo until last year. Chris Ledoux said it best with the lyrics ‘I would rather spend ten seconds in the saddle than a lifetime in the stands.’” Blaine didn’t come back quietly, he went to every NSRA and WSRA rodeo he possibly could last year. The plan is the same for 2019. He hopes to compete at some PRCA rodeos and see how they go. With his wife, Shannon, and their two kids – Bransen and Lulu – as his support system, Blaine is bound for greatness in the steer roping pen.
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