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Meet the Member: Warren Frey, NIRAMeet the Member
story by Siri Stevens
Warren Frey was born in Eunice, La., and still lives on the same farm. The 76-year-old has passed his love of rodeo to his children, and now his grandchildren are competing. “I’ve got 16 grandchildren and most of them all rodeo. I have one in pro rodeo, and one steer wrestler that lives in Oklahoma, and we just go on and on and on … from one chapter to the next.”
Warren and a friend from high school decided they wanted to try rodeo and he started in all the events. “Back then you did a lot of events,” he said. “I was pretty good at them and loved what I was doing.” He won the National High School Bareback Championship in Reno, Nev., in 1956 and was recruited to McNeese State University in the fall of 1956. His team won the National Championship in 1957, 58, and 59. Warren took the Bull Riding National Championship in 1958. He was also selected as the team’s most valuable player, competing in bareback riding, bull riding, and steer wrestling. “I had a lot of fun in my life and enjoyed the whole deal. I met a lot of friends in the rodeo and college and when my boys were rodeoing, I met the likes of Ty Murry, Tuff Hedemen. It was another era and I just fell in with the younger guys. I had fun being around them.”
A compound facture 1958 in the steer wrestling ended his rodeo career. “We were running some big steers south of Sulphur and one afternoon I was coming off my horse and my leg hit wrong and it snapped like a hickory stick and it was over.” Warren graduated from college in 1961 with a degree in Animal Science. “I came back and made my life on the farm. It’s been all about rodeo and livestock shows.”
He met his wife (Verna) in high school and they kept their relationship going through college. “We married in 1959 and we raised five children – two girls and three boys.” All the kids rodeoed, FFA, showed livestock, and the family spent a lot of time on the road. “My wife did a lot of hauling the kids. In 1980, she hauled our son to Yakima, Wash., to the high school finals – the same year Mt. Helen’s erupted. I stayed home to harvest rice.” Warren speaks highly of his wife, who passed away in 2012.
Through her dedication to making sure their kids got to where they needed to, Warren has seen his kids go the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and now his grandkids are making it to the National High School Finals. “I try to make as many as I can.”
Warren requested that we share his cell phone number “so some of the older guys could call me.” 1-337-789-7084.