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Meet the Member Wayne Mikesell
story by Lindsay King
Brushing elbows with the greats in his pursuit of the NFR back in the 70s and 80s, Wayne Mikesell from Dixon, Wyoming, is one of the few but proud bull riders in the NSPRA. Growing up with three sisters in Baggs, Wyoming, Wayne’s dad rode both bareback horses and bulls. “My sisters quit rodeoing after high school, but I went into the amateurs and filled my PRCA permit in 1981 and took off for the pros,” said the almost 60-year-old competitor. “I quit in 1987, but I picked it back up three years ago.”
Wayne was a triple threat in the roughstock events in high school and little britches rodeos. He dropped the broncs after a bad hang up in bareback in the PRCA. “It sounds kind of crazy, but that bareback ride spooked me more than bull riding ever did.” Not only did Wayne like riding bulls better, he also appreciated being that much closer to the ground in an event centered around hitting the dirt. In 1989, Ryan, now 29, was born, followed by Alaina, 27, and Cass, 23. “I managed a ranch with my family up in Montana for 14 years, until the owner sold out and we came back to Wyoming. I’ve worked for the oil and gas company here ever since then.” Both Ryan and Cass work for the same company, while Alaina breaks and trains show horses in Rock Springs. Wayne runs cattle with his kids on the side.
“I went to three schools in the 70s: Jerome Robinson in 1974 and Gary Leffew twice. I broke my leg the first time I went to Gary’s, so I had to go back.” His main role model was Charlie Sampson, the man he claims could ride a tornado. “He wasn’t actually bigger than a boot, but he could sure ride. I caught sight of him at some of the PRCA rodeos I competed at.” Wayne distinctly remembers a small rodeo in Greenriver, Wyoming, where Charlie rode. Much to Wayne’s surprise. “I asked why he was at such a small rodeo and I’ll never forget what he said. It’s all about the points.”
Rodeo is an unquenched thirst for Wayne, his unfinished business awaits at the NSPRA finals. “I have been to the circuit finals but never the NFR. So, I am working towards the NSPRA finals in place of the NFR.” Riding in all corners of the United States, Wayne was at all the big rodeos: Denver, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Houston. “I placed at Houston once, it was a good show. I rode at the Garden in New York, that was kind of scary honestly.” The rodeo standing out the most for Wayne was in North Dakota in the early 80s. “That might be the best rodeo I ever went to because they played the John Wayne tribute. That show made me feel good. They always held it in February, so the wind blew something fierce though.”
A great first year took Wayne to the finals, but one ride in and he completely tore up his shoulder. “I had my shoulder operated on in November and then I got on some bulls last year. It just did not feel quite right. I stared up in June this year and felt great.” Wayne rode the first bull out, but the second knocked him out for about ten minutes. “Everything feels really good, my shoulder is in great shape. I turned out the next weekend, but I will ride at my next. I am trying to go hard this year and make it back to the finals.”