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World Champion Cooper Lane
story by Lily Weinacht
Cooper Lane finished his rookie year in the NLBRA with two world titles, winning the junior boys bareback steer riding and saddle bronc steer riding. “I didn’t even have time to come home from the Junior High National Finals. My good buddy Benny Proffitt won the saddle bronc steer riding and I was second, so that made me more hungry to go at it at the Little Britches Finals,” explains Cooper, who spent more than two weeks on the road this summer. The 13-year-old from Keller, Texas, won the first round in both his events at the NLBFR and went into the short round sitting first in the saddle bronc and second in the bareback. He emerged the winner with seven buckles, two sets of spurs, two saddles, two hats, and several college scholarships. “It was really great! I’d never been to the Lazy E Arena and I really liked it. I ended up roping some goats, and getting some snow cones and spending time with my friends.”
Cooper rides tall in any of his champion buckles, but saves his world saddle bronc steer champion buckle for special occasions. He rode bulls for a short time, but bronc riding has always been his goal. “My cousins did saddle bronc, and I just love getting on the backs of saddle broncs and bareback horses and getting to spur. I live towards the city, so it’s fun to get out there with my rodeo friends, and I just enjoy living that lifestyle.
“My main coach is my dad, and my uncle Justin. I’ve also been coached by Bret Franks, and Billy and Robert Etbauer. The person I look up to most is Brody Cress. He’s good family friends with us, and I look up to him as he rides broncs. Robert Etbauer and Bret Franks were my uncle’s traveling partners, so that’s how I got to know them. My uncle Justin has a daughter my age, Jaylee Lane, and she won the pole bending at the NJHFR, so my uncle was there to help me out,” says Cooper. “I also want to thank American Hat Company for sponsoring me.” He traveled to the NJHFR and NLBFR with his parents, Brent and Pam Lane, while his 17-year-old sister, Macy, held down the fort at home and practiced with her high school dance team.
Along with his many coaches, Cooper attributes his success to practice and the help of his steer, #27. “We have some ponies if I need to get on bucking ponies, and a few good steers helped me get my mark out down, like #27.” Cooper qualified for the NLBFR in nine or ten rodeos, competing at the NRS Ranch Arena. “I wanted more places to ride, and Little Britches was right by the house. I thought it looked like fun and I really got to liking it. I’m planning to do Little Britches again this season, and hopefully I can win both events again.”
Along with rodeo, Cooper loves to play sports at Keller Middle School, where he recently started eighth grade. “Rodeo is my main sport, but I also do football, basketball, wrestling, pole vault, and track. It’s never a dull moment. A lot of my friends live in the neighborhood behind me, so I also like hanging out with them and going to the gym or playing games,” says Cooper. “I would like to win high school state for Texas (THSRA), and maybe go into Nationals and win that. Hopefully I’ll get a scholarship to college rodeo for Texas Tech. I want to be an engineer, but I also want to be coached by Bret Franks. Hopefully I can be coached by him and then go pro and go to the NFR.”