Story by Siri Stevens Joyce Barnes has been involved with the Moffat County High School Rodeo Club for 12 years. She started when her oldest, […]
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Meet the Member Dustin Sanchez
story by Lily Weinacht
For 17-year-old Dustin Sanchez of Ignacio, Colorado, the many hours of practicing and exercising to be a bull rider isn’t work, but the pursuit of his passion. “Rodeo becomes a way of life. I have friends around town who do it in the summer, but I want this to be my lifestyle so I don’t have to work,” explains Dustin, who’s currently leading the bull riding in the CSHSRA. “My mom used to be a barrel racer, and she showed us how to do everything. I have three older brothers who all rodeoed. I’m mostly a roughstock guy now, and I shoot in the rifle shooting.”
Dustin’s bull riding career took off three years ago when he got on a steer for the first time, unbeknownst to his mom, and won a buckle at the Chama Days Rodeo in Chama, New Mexico. “My mom asked me if I wanted to do high school rodeo, and I started the fall season of my freshman year. I went to a Gary Leffew bull riding camp right before the spring season, and it really helped me excel. I just like all the traveling we do. I’ve gone to Arizona and New Mexico, and all over chasing the bull riding. I won the open bull riding in Pagosa, Colorado, in 2017 put on by Shane Burris, and that’s probably one of my bigger highlights. I like the Cortez high school rodeo because it’s a three-day rodeo, and I get to go home after every performance. I don’t usually tie on my boots until they’re loading bulls so I don’t get too anxious too early.
“My mom is my main traveling partner. I had football on Friday nights and she drove me to the rodeos on Saturday mornings. We had a Saturday football game the same day as the rodeo, so I’d ride my bull in the morning and go play football in the afternoon.” Along with the support of his mom and step-dad, Jessie Sanchez and KC Hall, Dustin looks up to his brothers. “My older brother Dalton has really been my coach through everything. He’s a professional bull rider, and he’s been my mentor and teacher through all this. My oldest brother, Rowdy, used to team rope and now he’s a welder, and my brother RJ rodeoed in junior high.”
In between rodeos, Dustin has a practice pen 30 minutes from his house he can go to, and he also rides the stationary barrel and drop barrel that his brother built at their house. “We have a lot of horses at the house, and I ride those whenever I can. I’ll just get on my barrel and keep my legs healthy. I played running back and linebacker, and I’ve learned that if you don’t put your full effort into either rodeo or football, you’re not going to be any good,” says Dustin. A senior at Ignacio High School, he enjoys his physics class. His wrestling season is now underway, and Dustin is ranked fourth in the state at 160 pounds. He also practices his rifle shooting once a week, and has qualified for the NHSFR twice in the event.
“One of my goals is to win a state title in wrestling and a title in bull riding,” he finishes. “My second goal is to do really good at Nationals in the bull riding. I’m hoping to go to college to be an athletic trainer. I’ve been accepted into South Dakota State University, and I hope to college rodeo.”