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
Twisting a loop in the aisles of Gothenburg Livestock, a sale barn in Gothenburg, Nebraska, is where rodeo got started for Cooper Brott. “None of my family really roped, I just did it on my own. We have always had horses for the sale barn. I have always roped stuff, just did not get into rodeo until I was a little older,” said the header. Hitting maybe five rodeos a year while in high school, Cooper went to Odessa College in Texas to get into the toughest college rodeo region in the nation.
“In my mind, the southwest region is the toughest to college rodeo in. After I got down there I started to rodeo more. I came home every summer and went to a bunch of rodeos also.” Spending two years at Odessa, Cooper got a degree in welding and then transferred to Eastern New Mexico University and pursued a degree in agricultural business. “The whole reason I went to Odessa was to college rodeo. It’s a tough region, but they also have a lot of team ropings to go to all the time.” Success at college rodeos was sprinkled throughout his four years, but during his senior year at the Texas Tech rodeo Cooper won a round and then took the average also.
It was his buddies in college that truly helped Cooper hone the craft that is team roping, but Matt Fattig gets the credit for keeping him going in his younger days. “Matt hauled me around when I was little and helped me get places.” In 2015, Cooper and Matt made it to the NSRA finals and won the average. “That NSRA finals win was a good one. That first year in the NSRA was one of my better years so far. I have only been to four NSRA rodeos so far this year, but it is going pretty well.”
Coming back to Nebraska in 2017 was a bit of shock for Cooper after living in horse and roping country for so long. “It is a little bit harder to find rodeos and jackpots to go to up here. But the NSRA is about the best amateur association out there. A lot of contestants come to them and they have pretty good added money. They are just good rodeos.” Between the NSRA, M-SRA and competing in the Bad Lands Circuit, Cooper is working towards bigger stages in the future. “I want to make the circuit finals hopefully next year. I have never gone to enough rodeos to get my count and go. A trip to Kissimmee is also one of my long-term goals.”
With appearances at both the NSRA and M-SRA finals, Cooper is looking to go back to both this year. “Making the finals is not the hard part, I would like to make both again this year. But winning those saddles is the tough part.” But nothing will compare to July 2017 when Cooper made a trip up to Cheyenne. “It is just a different feeling than anywhere else you go. You are running full speed and the set up is unique, not many places give you that feeling and allow you to compete for that much money.”
After graduating from college in 2017, Cooper came back to the family sale barn business. However, Gothenburg Livestock burned down his senior year of high school, so they now operate Broken Bow Livestock. “I auctioneer sometimes and then sort cattle others, whatever needs to be done really. I have used my welding degree to build lots of fence and stuff for us, I use it about every week to fix something.”
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