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Meet the Member Ty Fenster
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Ty Fenster is the 2021 Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals Rodeo All-Around cowboy.
The Hyannis, Nebraska man won points in the team event and the ranch bronc riding to win the title last November.
He grew up in Casper, Wyoming, the son of a saddle bronc rider, and at age eight, he got on his first steer. Ty rode bulls through high school and pro rodeoed as well.
Bulls took precedence for about four years after high school, as he worked at ranches across South Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska.
His brother TJ began riding ranch broncs so Ty joined him. “I ride a lot of colts,” Ty said. When he started, he told himself, “It can’t be any different than riding a colt.”
He joined the WSRRA six years ago, and it provided some supplemental money when his bull riding didn’t go well. “I used to joke with the guys that when I got in a slump riding bulls, I’d ride ranch broncs so I could make money to pay my fees, so I could fall off more bulls,” he quipped.
He discontinued the bull riding after two serious injuries, three months apart. He punctured both lungs and had to have his heart restarted in 2013, and 90 days later, nearly the same injury occurred.
The injury took him out of a Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo qualification.
He also fights bulls for open rodeos and at senior pro rodeos. Ty likes working the senior pro shows, but it requires a bit of an adjustment. “At the (regular) rodeos, the young guys hit the ground and run away. The older guys take longer. I like fighting those shows for the older guys. They’re pretty fun, a good group of guys.”
For the all-around title, Ty won a buckle and a 40x American cowboy hat which he’s saved for special occasions. He’d like to wear it to a rodeo but his girlfriend “doesn’t want me to destroy it,” he said. “The last thing she told me I needed to do was take it off and spank a bronc while you’re trying to ride it.”
Ty enjoys the ranch rodeos. “At a regular rodeo, most of the bull riders can’t even ride a horse. At a ranch rodeo, everybody there is a working ranch cowboy. Whether you know them or not, you all have the same goals, everybody gets along well, and the camaraderie is great. I’ve got a lot better friends through ranch rodeo than I did through riding bulls.”
He works for the U Cross Ranch north of Hyannis, Neb. His WSRRA team members last year were his brother, TeJay Fenster, Ray Newtson, and TJ Camblin.