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Meet the Member Raymond Hostetler
story by Michele Toberer
Coming into the International Professional Rodeo Association as a 22-year-old rookie, Raymond Hostetler, of Piffard, New York made his mark, finishing the 2017 season as the Reserve Champion Saddlebronc Rider. But leaving the finals that year he was determined to finish on top in 2018, and that’s just what he did. “I went into the IFR49 in second place again, much like the year before, but I had a really good finals and was really happy to leave Oklahoma as the 2018 IPRA World Champion Saddlebronc rider after winning the IFR49 average.”
Not bad for a guy that started out fairly self-taught and focused on doing an event he really knew nothing about. “I had ridden bulls some but was not very good at it, and I had seen saddlebronc riding and wanted to try it. In 2012, I ordered a package deal on eBay that included a bronc saddle, chaps and a vest, and I just started getting on broncs when I could.” Raymond had been on approximately 15 broncs before meeting fellow bronc rider, Sam Swearingen, who helped him in many ways. Raymond now works for Sam at the Rawhide Rodeo Company where he is immersed in rodeo full-time, setting up arenas for shows, and doing behind the scenes work like making hay to feed the livestock and taking care of animals, from bucking horses to bulls and cows.
Raymond grew up in Conewengo, New York in a large Amish settlement, as the middle child of his family of 14. At the age of 18, he left the Amish community and moved to Pennsylvania, where he lived with his brother for two years before moving back to New York, about two-hours from the Amish home he was raised in to work for the Rawhide Rodeo Company. Besides Sam’s instruction, Raymond also credits things he learned from a Cody DeMoss bronc riding school, and a Chase Angus school, for the success he’s had in his riding.
His success at the IFR this year started out from the beginning, and the first horse he rode, George’s Bad Cat from Painted Pony gave him a second-place win. “I hadn’t ever been on him, but he was really good, he’d actually been to the WNFR as a bareback horse.” The second round, Raymond split first-place after riding a good horse from Buckeye, before splitting second place on his third horse of the competition. “The last horse I rode was a good horse to win on, Cherokee Kid from Rafter M; I won it with 82 points and that helped me win the average and the title.” The successful finish felt great to Raymond, “My first finals, I let my nerves get to me, I felt nervous and didn’t do very good. I figured this year I was going to do it different and just have fun but try my best, and it worked out.”
Raymond is looking forward to his wedding in May, where he will marry his fiancé, Tammi Swearingen, and he appreciates all that she does to support him. He also appreciates the support and help of her Uncle Sam. He has thoroughly enjoyed competing in the IPRA and plans to continue with his plan to win a second world champion title this year. Raymond’s favorite hobbies are hunting and fishing, but most of his time is filled with preparing for rodeos. “I like getting on good broncs and winning, and the IPRA gives many opportunities to do that, with good rodeos and great stock.” Raymond is also excited about the opportunity that the alliance between IPRA and WCRA is giving all of the IPRA World Champions, to compete for a piece of the $1 million purse at the Titletown Stampede Showdown in Green Bay, Wisconsin the first weekend of June.