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Meet the Member: Tegan Nevarez
Story by Ruth Nicolaus
Tegan Nevarez is a three-time Idaho Cowboys Association ranch bronc riding champion.
The Winnemucca, Nev. cowboy has been an ICA member for the past ten years.
He was raised in Rupert, Idaho, and competed in the saddle bronc riding and team roping in high school.
After a year in college in New Mexico, he began cowboying for a living and has worked at various ranches. He lived in the O’Neil basin for about seven years, day working and rodeoing out of that as his central location, training horses and packing elk out for hunters.
He and his family, wife Calee and eight-year-old daughter Ella, are at the Hot Springs Ranch now, in Golconda, ten miles outside of Winnemucca.
Tegan was a saddle bronc rider for the first part of his career, but a badly broken leg ended that about seven years ago.
At the time, he was also part of a ranch rodeo team, and when the guys needed somebody to ride ranch broncs, they asked him. “It paid well, and I thought it would be easy,” he said, “when you can hold on with both hands.”
Ranch bronc riding was gaining in popularity, so he switched from the saddle broncs to the ranch broncs.
Since then, he’s won three ICA ranch bronc titles and done well at the Western States Finals.
This July, his rodeo career was put on hold.
At a rodeo in Oakley, Idaho, he decided to crack back out in the saddle broncs.
He got bucked off, stepped on, and ended up with two broken vertebrae, six broken ribs, and a collapsed left lung. “It was a good wreck, that’s for sure,” he laughed.
After five days in the hospital and surgery to fuse C5, C6 and C7, he spent another 10 weeks recuperating at home.
Tegan plans on returning to life “as previous,” he said, although his doctor didn’t specifically recommend riding broncs.
“I dang sure ran it by him,” Tegan said, of asking the doctor’s opinion about rodeo competition. “He said, ‘well I fixed it. You’re pretty lucky on this go round. If you’re wanting to do it, nothing’s going to stop you.’ He told me there was no medical reason not to” ride broncs.
For fun, he and his wife like to go dancing and take family trips. Calee is from Alabama, and her parents have a lake house there, which they love to visit, although Calee would love it if they moved to Alabama. “My wife’s been doing her damndest to try and get me to move there, but I’ve been resilient. It’s fun to visit but the humidity would kill me dead in the summer,” he said.
He and Calee love to visit Las Vegas and try to go about once a year, either to celebrate their anniversary (they were married there) or just for fun. They go to new places, new hotels and new restaurants every time. They both also love sushi, so a trip to Gorilla Sushi in Vegas is usually on the list.
Tegan often frequents the best sushi place in Winnemucca (the only place in town that serves it). The restaurant also serves tacos, so it’s a win-win for those who don’t like sushi but do like Mexican.
He is in his first year as a ranch bronc riding director for the ICA, and he’s realizing the other side of rodeo. “There’s dang sure a lot more to it than just showing up to a rodeo and nodding your face,” he said. “It’s been a good eye opener. I enjoy being involved, and rodeo is a passion.”
Tegan would have qualified for this year’s ICA finals but was short one rodeo in his rodeo count, because of his injury. He’s qualified for the ICA finals 2017-2020.