story by Ruth Nicolaus Sydney May is applying physics to the rodeo arena. The Colorado High School Rodeo Association cowgirl took advanced physics class this […]
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Meet the Member – Ryan Wells
by Lily Weinacht
For every nod of the head Ryan Wells gives in the bucking chutes, there are innumerable hours of preparation to go with it. The 18-year-old bull rider from Beulah, Colo., got on his first bull at a practice pen in 2010, and his thirst for adrenaline was never quite quenchable after that. From then on, Ryan dedicated himself to practicing at every opportunity, and joined the NLBRA soon after.
Though hesitant at first, his parents, Jeff Wells and Shawnna Haling, immersed themselves in the rodeo world with their son. “My dad puts everything he has into taking me down the road, and my mom is really supportive – she’s a trooper about coming to watch me ride,” Ryan explains. His dad even purchased several bulls for Ryan to practice on through high school, and the event they had watched together on TV became the family’s lifestyle. Ryan’s step-brother, Jordan Giadone, fights bulls at many of the same high school and Little Britches rodeos that Ryan competes in. “Not only is it helpful to have your friends there, but it’s definitely nice to know your step-brother has your back!”
This is Ryan’s first season with the CSHSRA, and he is using his one season with the association to the fullest. He will be representing Colorado at the NHSFR , with plans to compete at the NLBFR one last time as well. “High school rodeo is really growing on me,” says Ryan. “I’ve already made a lot of friends, and the environment is really enjoyable. My motivation to rodeo is the love of the game,” he adds. “It makes all the sacrifices and miles and money all worth being there and getting to do what you love. I don’t think there is anything any of us wouldn’t do!” Ryan even missed his high school graduation from Pueblo County High School in order to compete at state finals that same weekend. Not surprisingly, his rodeo idol is CBR bull rider Trey Benton. “I was watching the PBR on TV a few years ago, and Trey showed up late because he’d been competing in a pro rodeo before coming to the CBR. He’d competed in four rodeos that day, won three of them, and placed second in the other!”
When he’s not behind chutes, Ryan is working on his dad’s ranch, where they raise beef cattle. “I’m not too great at anything, but if you ask me to do something, I’ll do my best for you,” he explains good naturedly. Ryan dedicates the rest of his day to the gym and getting on practice bulls, while he also goes to ride bulls once a week, coached by Tuff Garcia. “To me, any rodeo event, especially bull riding, is at least 95% mental,” says Ryan. “I believe in constantly putting yourself in a positive environment, learning how to improve, and applying that to your riding.”
Ryan recently attended the Riding on Faith Bull Riding Camp in New Mexico, and is leading the bull riding in the Mountain State Young Guns Circuit, while preparing for the Youth Bull Riding World Finals in Abilene, Texas. In 2014, he won the Four Corners Youth Bull Riding in Farmington, N.M., presented by the CBR, and qualified for the New Year’s Eve Extreme Rodeo Challenge in Loveland, Colo. He is narrowing down colleges as he prepares to college rodeo and pursue a welding degree this fall, while his main goal for the summer is placing in the top three at the NHSFR, if not winning it.
Even if rodeo doesn’t come naturally to you, what’s important, and the one thing you can control, is the effort you put into it,” says Ryan. “To me, effort is by far more important than any talent!”