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 […]
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Meet the Member Brian Brown
story by Sierra Spratt
Brian Brown decided he needed to be a bareback rider at the age of 14, while he was visiting some of his father Loring “Brownie’s” friends in Oregon. One such friend was RC Landingham, a professional bareback rider. “I got to hang out with him and he was a pretty cool guy, so thought I wanted to be a bareback rider,” he said. After that encounter, it was all Brian could think about. His dad, who used to ride bareback when he was younger, helped him as well as his cousin Joe Smidt, Larry Sandvick and Kelly Wardell. “My dad has helped me more than anyone not only with my physical abilities, but the mental side as well,” he said.
Before he rode, he wrestled and was into anything done outside. “I stopped wrestling my sophomore year, but I still do a lot of hunting and fishing.” As of now however his one and only rodeo event is bareback riding, and as far as he’s concerned, it’s all he wants to do.
The upcoming senior from La Barge Wyo, a minute town near Big Piney, attends Big Piney High School. He rodeos for Wyoming’s High School Rodeo Association and won the State title this past year. It was also his first time qualifying to Nationals, and won in the end won the average in his event this year.
Like many 17 year olds, he doesn’t yet have an idea where he wants to go to college, but he knows that he wants to go and compete for a good rodeo team. After he graduates, he plans on hitting the pro rodeo trail and trying to make the NFR but not before he attempts to win back-to-back National Bareback Riding Champion titles at the NHSRF next summer.
Brian tied with Arizona’s Rio Lee for the NHSFR championship this year with a combined score of 215 points, and ended up third in the short round with 73-point ride. “All week I tried not to get too excited or too worked up,” he said. “Whatever horse I had I would try to ride them as good as I could and I guess it worked out. I drew good and I took advantage of good horses.”
Being the first trip to the NHSFR, it was overwhelming for him, but after the first round he was relaxed and assertive. “When it comes down to it, it’s just riding bucking horses and it doesn’t matter who’s there or where it’s at, you’re there to do one thing.”
The only child of Tina and Brownie Brown lives in town, but his grandparents own 30 acres of land across the road from him. “I get to go over there and harass saddle horses and stuff,” he said. He deems a few professional bareback riders and his father as his idols in the sport.
This past June, Brian not only looked up to the professionals- he competed against them in the Chris LeDoux Memorial Invitational match held in Kaycee, Wyo. The event had music, dancing and a few rodeo events all dedicated to the Wyoming native country singer. Brian guessed there were about 17 cowboys entered, most of which have competed and placed in past NFR’s. He dubs it as his proudest achievement in his rodeo career thus far, considering he won the entire thing. “I just got really good horses and ended up winning it,” was all he humbly said of his success. The Chris LeDoux Days plans on holding the event again next year as well.
Having yet another year of high school left, his one and only focus is bareback riding. “I’ve been blessed to win the finals, but I just want everyone to know that I still have a lot to prove and accomplish.”