Interview by Naomi Loomis, WSRRA Association Representative [ “Don’t be afraid to go after what you wanna do or who you wanna be, but don’t […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Todd Michael
by Naomi Loomis,
WSRRA Association Representative
The WSRRA Western States Ranch Rodeo Association started for one reason: to allow the full time and the average day working cowboy, working men and women, to have an opportunity to compete in sanctioned ranch rodeo events.
For years, other associations have catered to only the full-time ranch-hand competitor, leaving a large gap for those who work full time in other professions. By including full time ranch cowboys, smaller ranches and part-time cowboy contenders, the WSRRA will considerably enrich the ranch rodeo sport, bringing in fresh talent, showcasing more skills and encouraging seniors, women and youths to participate in a family atmosphere. Only by continuing to expand the opportunities for all ranch rodeo competitors do we ensure that the ranch rodeo heritage will continue for generations to come.
The American cowboy has been a worldwide icon since the early 1800s. Today the heritage, values, and traditions of the working ranch are still alive and well. Ranch cowboys are out there living the lifestyle – calving, branding, gathering and doctoring cattle – keeping our ranching traditions alive.
The WSRRA was formed in 2010 to promote and preserve these traditions through a sanctioned ranch rodeo association. Full time, part time/day working ranch cowboys, or anyone else who enjoys competing in ranch rodeo events are welcome!
In 2016, the WSRRA Association Board of Directors decided to offer a class of certified ranch bronc riders. These judges would take a class on ranch bronc judging. The class included rules, points given for the bronc and rider and code of conduct. These judges would then be certified to judge any sanctioned ranch bronc riding in the states.
From the ranch bronc riding class of 2018, Todd Michael sat down with me to discuss a little about life and being a judge.
Todd is a ranch hand in the Nebraska Sandhills. Todd and his wife, Shelli are currently running a red angus mother cow operation. He also is a veteran. I asked Todd what a normal day looks like, “My normal is relatively boring. Start out with some barn chores. Feed horses and calves. I generally check cows and water sources then move on to other general ranch duties. Fencing and haying.” You can say that Todd is a cowboy that loves just being a cowboy.
I know Todd as a good neighbor so consequently when I needed a judge for my ranch rodeo, four years ago, Todd was a target! He has been judging my ranch rodeo and ranch bronc riding in Bridgeport, Nebraska but also has picked up a few other ranch rodeos in Montana, South and North Dakota. He became a WSRRA certified judge in 2018.
Being a ranch rodeo/ranch bronc riding judge comes with challenges and Todd talks about them, “My biggest challenge is letting contestants know that no matter the call or score it’s nothing personal. Even if I’m friends with someone, I am extremely fair.” Even thou, there are challenges with being a judge there is also rewards and Todd tell us about them, “My most rewarding part of judging is getting to be up close and watch the next generation of cowboys doing what they enjoy.”
One of my favorite parts of being a part of the WSRRA is getting to meet new people and getting to go places that I would never be able to go. Todd agrees with me, “WSRRA judging has taken me physically to places like North Dakota. I’ve met some decent people that enjoy the same things in life. Metaphorically speaking, judging has taken me to a new height in my life. I can have some input in the sport and still enjoy a front row seat while doing my part to keep things fair.”
As far as learning about the WSRRA, Todd says this: “I learned about this association when first got started ranching in Nebraska. At that time, I was competing in a different ranch rodeo association. When I moved to the ranch that we are at, Naomi asked if I’d judge her ranch rodeo. It’s kind of taken off from there.”
The future of ranch rodeos and ranch broncs to me looks bright. The events that I have been to this year, show promise that cowboys and cowgirls still exist and it is an awesome sight. Todd agrees, “I think that ranch rodeos will be around the communities for a long time. It’s a good way for actual cowboys to compete and show off the true skills that it takes to complete our jobs out on the ranch. Ranch bronc riding I believe is an up and coming sport that is catching on everywhere.”
On behalf of the WSRRA, I would like to thank Todd for being one of our certified judges. To see our other certified ranch bronc riding judges, please see our website: http://www.wsrra.org/events/tour- event-schedule/wsrra-approved-judges/