story by Lori O’Harver GLEN ROSE, Texas – “We’re thrilled to have the bronc riders back in town, but honestly? It’s the TBRA lady ranch […]
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Meet the Member: Thomas Moellering
story by Lori O’Harver
Everything from his truck affectionately known as The Wagon to the cantle of his stock saddle will tell you Thomas is an outlaw, but don’t be fooled. This Army veteran who served in Afghanistan is a role model. We caught up with him at sunrise from the river bottom camp where he’d slept in a bedroll under a tarp, the two 2 year olds he’s starting picketed nearby.
“I spend a lot of time with these colts, exposing them to what good saddle horses need to know to safely do the real jobs they’ll be called on to do,” he said. “I want them solid when I send them home.”
Moellering chose the ranch bronc riding over the classic because he believes it’s the foundation of not just bronc riding, but everything cowboy. That’s important to the young man who grew up helping his dad ranch, start colts and shoe.
“When I was 4, I had the job of packing hot irons from the fire to the calves at branding time. My dad saw I was trying, but eyeing the guys with horseback jobs,” Thomas recalled. “He told me I could go get a horse and help hold herd and such. I happily bailed right on his horse, but hadn’t paid much attention to what he was riding. I kicked him off from where he’d stood and he broke in two. He was a real green 2 year old and bucked me slick off.”
“My dad asked me if I planned to get back on or just lay there. When I told him I wanted back on and to catch my horse, he said, ‘Son? Cowboys catch their own horses.’”
He decided right there that he’d not be bucked off many more times, and has kept that promise despite craving the big, bad broncs ever since.
“Airborne on a bucking horse is my happy place. It’s like being in the eye of the storm, where the calm is. Keeping your wits about you when everybody else is losing theirs is the strongest position you can be in. I feel safe when I’m cradled in the arms of Danger.”
When he’s not traveling to rodeos to ride or spending hours on the young prospects he rides, Moellering repurposes old lariats, leather goods and piggin’ strings and makes equipment. From warbridles, quirts, halters and headstalls, he prides himself on the tough gear he ‘road tests’ himself and sells cheap.
“I make practical working gear for the practical working cowboy and sell it cheap because, you know, cowboys are always broke,” he laughed.
“Last year, I was at the bottom of the standings. This year, I’m near the top. Funny thing is as long as I’m getting to ride, I don’t care what the books say. I’m happy.”