Meet the Member Joe Stoddard
story by Lillian Landreth Many a high school rodeo athlete has been shaped by Joe Stoddard’s contributions to the sport, from his blood relations to […]
story by Lily Weinacht
“I really like the thrill of rodeo. I’m a real big adrenaline junky, and I really like the people involved in it. I’ve never met a better set of people—I’ve wrestled and played football, but I can’t find a better group of people than my rodeo family,” says Cole Brewer. “Everyone is supporting each other the whole way.”
Cole, an 18-year-old roughstock and timed event cowboy from Dupree, South Dakota, started his rodeo career when he was 8, but he’s been part of the Western lifestyle from day one. The son of a steer wrestler and a barrel racer, he grew up on a ranch and competes on both ends of the arena, moving from tie-down roping and steer wrestling to team roping and bull riding in a kind of well-ordered scramble. “I’ve never really had it another way, so I don’t know any different. I like being in all the events that I am, so I can’t complain,” he says. “Whatever I do the best in that day is my favorite. I used to ride broncs, but I got knocked out too many times and had too many broken bones. I quit bronc riding last year, but I’ve been doing pretty good in the bull riding lately.” He qualified for state finals in steer wrestling and tie-down roping, and advanced to the short go in steer wrestling, where he finished ninth in the year-end standings.
The sport extends across all of Cole’s family, including his sister Shantell, a sophomore competing in the SDHSRA; their brother, Bobby, a sixth-grader competing in the SDJHRA; and their 8-year-old sister, Jada, who competes in 4-H rodeos. Their parents, Jess and Fanny Brewer, haul them to their rodeos, and the siblings often practice and ride together. “My parents have done so much for me, and I couldn’t be where I am today without them,” says Cole. “I practice every single day, and if I can’t practice, I exercise my timed event horses and get on a bucking machine to stay in shape for riding bulls. I have a bunch of old team roping steers that are really big that I get on. They have just enough buck.” Cole’s rodeo family has also been instrumental in his rodeo career. “Doug Maher and his son Dane Maher have done a lot for me in the bull riding—he has a bucking machine and I go up there once a week and get on, and Doug Young helps me in the calf roping.”
Cole found his calf horse, Jager, a year ago, and says he couldn’t ask for a better one. “I can take him to just about any level and place on him. My steer wrestling horse, Woodrow, is just getting me started—I just started steer wrestling a little over a year ago—and I couldn’t ask for a better horse to start on. My heel horse is Champ. I have quite a few horses I can switch over to, but he’s an older horse who does his job perfect. The people I bought him from won the Indian Finals on him five years ago.” Cole also enjoys riding young horses, starting a handful for his family, and breaking colts for neighbors. The Brewers run beef cattle on their ranch, which has been in the family three generations, and Cole enjoys every bit of the lifestyle. A recent graduate from Dupree High School, he’s attending Sheridan College in Wyoming this fall on a rodeo scholarship and majoring in Ag. business.
“Rodeo is about all I do, if I’m not in another sport like wrestling or football,” says Cole, who also competes in 4-H rodeos, the SDRA, and the Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association as a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux. He qualified for the INFR in Las Vegas in 2015 in the bull riding and breakaway roping, and hopes to return this year. “I want to make the college finals next year. And someday, I’d like to have my own big ranch and be successful at it.”
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