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 Bryan and Jared Lemmon
story by Lily Weinacht
Bryan Lemmon may be eight minutes older than his twin brother, Jared, but he’s the second one to leave the roping box, waiting for Jared to get the perfect handle on their steer. The 18-year-old brothers from Torrington, Wyoming, have been team roping together since they were in first grade and qualified for the NJHFR together in eighth grade. Last season, they earned their first qualification to the NHSFR and finished sixth in the nation. “We were pretty surprised!” says Jared. “A couple buddies of ours that have been to the finals told us that we just needed to get three steers down and things shape up from there. We came into the finals fourth in the state, and I’m pretty shocked about how we finished.” The brothers also competed in jackpots, went golfing and joined in basketball games and water balloon fights, and spent time with friends old and new. “It was really fun, and we have next year to do it again,” says Bryan. “I’ll just make sure I ride a perfect position and don’t rush anything, and we’ll see where the chips lay.”
Team roping started with Bryan and Jared’s dad, Don, who picked it up from Larry Schanaman, a man he did ranch work for. “Dad roped the dummy outside and we always joined him,” says Bryan. He and Jared can rope both ends, but found out who was more consistent at heading or heeling and stuck with it. “It’s about the handle,” says Jared, the header, “and the way the steer hops across the arena. I know exactly how I handle it for Bryan and exactly where he’ll throw so he can make the best and fastest shot he can possibly make.” They’ve also both taken up tie-down roping in the last year, but still prefer the teamwork and familiarity of competing together. Their dad has been helping them in the tie-down roping, as well as the Deveraux and Aufdahl families.
Larry Schanaman, who taught their dad to rope, has also coached Bryan and Jared in team roping over the years, and they rope often at his house. Mack McKinney, a longtime friend of the family’s, also helps the brothers. “You obviously have to practice to get any better, and going to these rodeos and winning something shows you how much practice helps,” says Jared. Bryan adds, “I like the crowd and the atmosphere, and the excitement of winning and competing against everybody. I really like the Sheridan rodeo—the stands are cool and they have pro rodeos there—and state finals is always fun.”
Jared and Bryan both tie-down rope on a sorrel gelding they call Zippy, and Jared heads on a 20-year-old mare named Kate. “I don’t think I could ever find a horse that fits me better. My heel horse is Bunny—I won a truck on her, and before then I didn’t really like her,” Jared says with a laugh. “I roped on her twice and took her to a NTR truck roping and it ended up working.” Bryan and his 12-year-old heel horse, Mico, have also done well together and picked up numerous rodeo checks. “He’s my go-to horse, and we just click. He knows where I’m going to go and when I’m going to throw, and if I miss, he’s so quick I can kick him forward and he’s right there again.”
Along with roping three or four days a week, Bryan and Jared are in the thick of football practice, along with starting their senior year at Torrington High School. They also play basketball and run track together. “We’ve always played the same sports—we’ve done it all together,” says Bryan. “We’re pretty easy to tell apart, but sometimes people get our names mixed up.” Bryan mowed lawns full time this summer and Jared worked at Napa Auto Parts, while both of them plan to college rodeo and are looking at schools. They also enjoy spending time with their parents, Don and Cindy Lemmon, and older sister, Lindsey. Brian and Jared are both aiming for finishing in the top five at the NHSFR in team roping next year, or even taking home the national title, along with qualifying for the CNFR as freshmen and eventually backing into the roping box at the WNFR.