story by Michele Toberer Dawson and Jessica McMaster have “McMastered” their respective events and are sitting at the top in the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association […]
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Meet the Member Ty Pellam
by Shiley Blackwell
It’s not often that a champion bareback rider fights bulls after he steps off his bronc, but for 25 year old Ty Pellam, he wouldn’t have it any other way. The Fairland, Oklahoma cowboy grew up in California, where he started riding calves at junior rodeos and roping at jackpots. His family moved to southeast Oklahoma in 2007, and it was there that he found his passion for bucking horses and bull fighting.
“I honestly enjoy doing both of them—working the same rodeo and doing both. Heck, people say bareback riders are crazy, and people say that bull fighters are crazy, then they meet me and they’re like ‘oh wow, we don’t know what to do with you,’” he laughs.
Ty’s bareback riding career began at age 16 in his family’s arena. “My dad worked every event in rodeo and I found one of his old riggings. I kept pestering him about it, so he put me on my rope horse and we flanked him in our arena. I fell in love with it.”
At the time, Ty was competing in a winter series in the bulls and junior broncs. It wasn’t long after getting on his first bronc that he decided to quit riding bulls and pursue bareback riding more intensely. His early efforts paid off as he went on to win the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association reserve state championship in 2011 and state championship in 2012.
It was around that same time when Ty’s passion for bull fighting began to emerge. “We were out in the practice pen and didn’t have anyone to do it, so I just stepped out there and fell in love with it, and took off after that.”
Since then, he’s strived to balance bareback riding and bull fighting. He’s done it in fashion, taking the Kansas Pro Rodeo Association Bareback Riding Championship in 2017, the same year he was selected to be a bull fighter at the finals. “I had a hectic finals and didn’t have much time,” he adds, “but I enjoyed doing it.”
Ty has been a member of the KPRA since 2014, and was the Rough Stock Rookie of the Year that same year. He has also been on the association’s board for the last year and a half. “It’s a good group of people and they’ve got good horses to get on. For any young bareback riders out there who are trying to decide where to go, KPRA would be a great place to start.”
When Ty isn’t hopping on a bronc or bull fighting, you can catch him on the golf course. “I got hurt my freshman year while college rodeoing at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and had to take year and a half off. After I got out of my sling, they asked me to be on the college golf team, so I played for two years. I had never golfed before that, but by the end of those two years I loved it. I try to go golf as much as I can, even when I’m on the road.” He adds that golfing, as well as books and blogs, help his mental game, which he believes is a crucial component of success.
Ty currently rodeos full time and has a small herd of cattle at his home in Oklahoma. He recently bought his PRCA card and has a goal to qualify for the Prairie Circuit Finals before pursuing his bull fighting career with more focus.
When the rodeo road gets tough, Ty focuses on his faith in God and his passion for helping fellow cowboys. “I’d like to be known as one of the greats someday,” he adds. “There’s just not a better feeling in the world than shooting a gap or making a pick and knowing that your buddy is walking away safe because of you.”