Meet the Member Brandon Nuffer
story by Siri Stevens There’s a whole village of people helping to oversee the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association. Two of those people are Brandon […]
by Naomi Loomis,
WSRRA Association Representative
You can’t miss this cowboy from “The Cowboy State” LaGrange, Wyoming. He is a very aggressive ranch bronc rider and his get-it-done attitude is contagious. In fact, he is in the top 15 WSRRA Ranch Bronc Riders in the association and currently in sixth place in the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association Rookie race.
Wes, who has his eyes on a WSRRA Finals buckle, is hoping to become the 2018 WSRRA Rookie of the Year. “My goal for the 2018 year is to compete at the best of my ability and win Rookie of the year. But in the big scheme of it all is like to win a world title someday and help the WSRRA grow. I enjoy it when people ask me what the association is because it gives me a chance to broaden people’s horizons and in courage others to gain more interest and maybe someday be involved.”
Wes, his wife Alyssa and their three girls, Brylee(7),Aspyn (almost 2), and Emery ( almost a month old) work on a ranch in LaGrange,Wy where they run a cow/calf operation and raise our calves to yearlings. Wes has been a cowboy all his life, growing up around cows and horses, helping dad, or helping friends and neighbors. He grew up on a ranch 30 miles north of Ordway, CO.
Wes hasn’t also been in to bucking horse but a year ago, he got the wild hair. “I got the idea to enter the amateur series in Hill City, South Dakota. I was riding saddle bronc and got a wild hair to give it a shot and instantly fell in love with it.”
Being a rookie is exciting and also challenging and Wes has this to say about being a rookie, “Being a Rookie means that it’s an opportunity for you to show everyone what you’re about. First impressions are important. It’s what everyone remembers and it’s what sticks with them in years to come.” Wes talked to me about being a rookie, “It has its moments where it can be intimidating, but it adds a certain amount of pressure to give you that push to help you improve over time. There are always things to change and improve upon but that comes with experience. You got to travel a lot and go the extra mile to compete at a higher level. I’ve had a lot of help from guys who have been to the finals and pointers along the way.”
How does a rookie prepare for riding broncs? Wes tells me this; “besides getting on a lot of horses you should spend a lot of time in the saddle. The Wright Brothers once said “you gotta be a cowboy first before you can be a rodeo cowboy.” I’m a firm believer in that. For me I spend a lot of time picturing that perfect ride. I watch a lot of videos of guys I’d like to ride like such as Justin Quint and Wesley Rosengreen. Even before I get on I focus on what I need to do to get as close to that perfect ride as possible.”
Riding a ranch bronc is all about using your legs, your hands, and confidence. “In my opinion I think you have to incorporate both to ride broncs. Ask any bronc rider and they’ll you “stay back and lift”. If you can do that, you should be able to ride any horse. Your legs and feet with come later. Your legs have to stay loose and you need to be able to kick loose and stay in time with the horse. If you can do that you should be able to place on good horses and win on the best,” says Wes.
Wes has been on the rodeo trail to figure out a few of his favorite ranch broncs. “Well this year isn’t over and there’s a lot of horses left to get on, but so far my favorite would have to 94 Plain Jane of Bad Medicine, or 116 Petro of Derry Mayfield’s. Both horses have a lot of drop and you can just sit back and let your feet fly. They’re a lot of fun.” Wes also have a bronc that he would like a rematch on, “I have my mind on #2 Blue Belle of Bad Medicine. I drew her at the 2018 Bronc Bash in Torrington, it started to be a really good ride, but then had some equipment failure. I’ve had my eye out for her ever since.”
Wes learned about the WSRAA when he was helping Wayne Larson with Bronc Bash in Torrington, Wyoming. “I got to watch the guys get on and it was then when I learned about the association and started following it more. I enjoy the WSRRA because of how large of an area it covers. It’s really neat to see guys from all over. It’s a close knit famil,” states Wes.
Wes explains five things that he takes on the rodeo trail. “Besides my saddle and gear bag, I always take a notebook. It helps me keep track of different horses I get on and to keep track of points I accumulate throughout the year. I drag along a cooler with food and after to help keep expenses down and I always make sure to have a bag of sunflower seeds with me,” he says.
Wes and I have the same opinion about ranch bronc riding. “If you’ve watched ranch bronc riding over the years, it has gained popularity whether it’s more contestants or spectators. People love watching wild rides and the elegance of bronc riding and Ranch Bronc riding is, in a whole, all of it. It’s become more popular and has gained more bronc riders thanks to more added prizes and money. It’s not just your everyday working cowboy anymore. It’s starting to carry itself in a more professional manner and I think that is its great virtue,” states Wes. The future of ranch bronc looks promising. “I think it’s going to keep growing. There’s a lot more guys that are starting out and are gonna give the top guys a run for their money. I think there’s gonna be more sponsors that are going to wanna take part and someday it’s going to be a class of its own,” he states.
Ranch bronc riding has a few challenges and Wes explains them, “For me the most challenging part is kicking loose. In order to score a lot of points you have to get your feet moving and be in time with the horse. Anyone can ride a bucking horse. However, there’s very few that can make it look good.”
Wes is looking forward to the Last Man Standing in Heppner, Oregon. “There’s going to be some of the top guys competing there along with some outstanding horses that will probably end up at the finals. Mix that win and a lot of points, added money and its gonna be the best of the best. Another one I’m excited for is the Ride a Horse, Feed a Cowboy in Hullett, WY. There’s going to be some really good powerful horses and it’s towards a good cause.”
Wes and I would like to add this, “It’s never too late to start. I hope to see more guys compete and more rodeos become involved in the WSRRA in coming years.”
Wes, on behalf of the WSRRA, good luck in the next coming months and we hope to see you at the 2018 WSRRA National Finals Rodeo in Winnemucca Nevada.
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