story by Hannah Crandall Now a rodeo judge from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, Shane Thurston has been going to rodeos since he was two-years-old. Shane’s […]
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Meet the Member Travis Wimberley
story by Lindsay Humphrey
“Bull riding is different from every other sport, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Ever since I started, I haven’t really wanted to quit; I’m not sure how you could quit honestly,” said 17-year-old Travis Wimberley. The high school junior has never met a bull he didn’t want to climb on. That’s been the case since he was introduced to the sport by his father, Nathan, when he was just 6 years old. “Dad rode bulls his whole life and he took me to a rodeo, the Tingley Coliseum Fair, and asked if I wanted to ride a sheep. I got on one and just started getting on more after that. Getting on sheep was really exciting for me, it was a rush.”
Hailing from Los Lunas, New Mexico, Travis actually competes in the OHSRA. He spends quite a bit of time in the skies getting to and from rodeos during the season as a result. He’s not much of a homebody though, he’s always ready to head out the door for a rodeo. “I knew a lot of people in Oklahoma already and I liked how tough the competition was in the bull riding. My mom, Brigette, and dad will drive up and watch me ride as much as they can, but it’s about an eight-hour drive.” Travis rode both bulls and bareback in the NMJHSRA and even won at state finals two years in a row. Then Travis took a break from rodeo his freshman year. He started a homeschooling program last year, which ultimately allowed him the freedom to rodeo in Oklahoma.
“I’ve always really wanted to be homeschooled. I like learning, but I never really liked the school part of it. I missed a lot of days for rodeo when I was in public school and they didn’t really like that.” Homeschooling also gives Travis more time to work during the day, honing his skills as a welder with Kevin Casteo. “Kevin is pretty cool, it’s just the two of us welding pipe fence and buildings together. He lets me off whenever I need it for a rodeo.” If his bull riding career doesn’t take off as planned, Travis will always have welding to fall back on. However, Travis has a promising future ahead of him in the roughstock event.
COVID-19 prevented Travis from competing a majority of the high school season, but he still managed to punch his ticket to nationals. “We only had one rodeo and then state finals. I ended up third in Oklahoma.” Although Travis got bucked off both his first and short-round bull at nationals, he covered his second and placed 15th in the nation. “It was a blast; I had a great time. Although I wish I would’ve placed a little better, I can’t complain because I’m still healthy and didn’t get hurt.”
Harboring a trip to the JrNFR as well as a world title in MBR in 2015, Travis set himself up for success when it came to gearing up for amateur rodeos. “When I was in Vegas that year, I rode in two different associations–MBR and IMBA. I rode all four bulls in the IMBA to finish third in the world and then I rode all three of my bulls at the JrNFR to take seventh place.” There’s just something about bull riding that Travis craves. The more bulls he can get on, the better.
Back when Travis first got started in bull riding, he got on calves in the NMRA. That was quite a few years ago and now Travis has made his debut as a full-fledged bull rider in the association he grew up in. “There are really great people in the NMRA, and they have great bulls too. They always put on a great rodeo and it doesn’t hurt that they have some good added money at their rodeos too.”