There will be five first time qualifiers at the Wrangler National Finals this year in the barrel race and each one has a great tale […]
Briar Teague, from Rattan, Okla., makes his living with a rope. He is headed back to the Lazy E to defend his 2021 Cinch Jr. Ironman Championship. The 20-year-old is approaching the upcoming event as he approaches any event. “I’ve always had a natural way of not getting nervous. I don’t know if it’s from roping my whole life, but I know with each run I’ve just got to catch them – I do what I can with what I draw.”
Briar has been on a horse since he was born. His dad, Philip, started roping when he was 27. His four sons, Briar, Clancy (18), Cutter (16), and Tryan (13), spent their childhood riding horses, roping, and raising cattle, including show cattle during their time in FFA. The family runs around 450 pairs on a few thousand acres outside of the small town of Ratton. There is one stoplight in the entire county. He graduated with a class of 20. Briar won his first buckle at the age of 3, winning the dummy roping at a USTRC roping his dad was competing at. He started competing in a youth rodeo, the OYRA, when he was 8 and a year later was competing at the USTRC ropings with his dad. He started with team roping (both ends) and breakaway roping, moving into calf roping, saddle bronc riding, and steer wrestling during his time with the Oklahoma Junior High and High School Rodeo Associations. He rode saddle broncs all four years of high school, making the National High School Finals (2017-2019) in that event as well as calf roping his senior year and team roping his sophomore, junior, and senior year. Riding saddle bronc riding started with encouragement from Wade Sundell, 8x WNFR qualifier in the saddle bronc riding. and a good friend. He didn’t pursue riding broncs after high school. “It helped me ride a bucking horse so that was good.”
He started bulldogging his junior year, competing his last year in high school. Briar went to Tyler Pearson’s school and had never jumped a steer before. They did all the dummy work, and that afternoon, they jumped two steers and he threw both clean. They had a two head jackpot that he won as well. At the beginning, Briar used one horse, his dad’s heel horse, Casino, for all events. That horse gave his all to all the boys. As Briar got older, the family was able to buy other horses and today there are 30 horses on the place with specific jobs in the arena. Hard work and dedication paid off for Briar. He won the All Around title for the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association in 2019 and 2020. Along with rodeo, Briar found success in FFA, showing cattle and pigs. He earned the State Farmers degree while in FFA. He played baseball as well as basketball.
“We did this as a family,” said his mother, Misty. All six of them would into a living quarter trailer and spend weekends on the rodeo road. Having four boys kept Misty on her toes. “It’s probably better than raising four girls,” laughed Misty, a physical therapist who went from fulltime to part time so she could take care of four boys. “They are energetic and full of life. It took all of us – it was fun times and lots of work but well worth it.”
“I’ve always tried to teach the boys that if you want something, you’ve got to work for it,” said Philip. “You can’t be afraid to reach your goals – you can’t sit back and play it safe all the time.” All four boys rope aggressively. “You don’t get anywhere running them three quarters of the way down the arena – that goes for roping as well as life – you’ve got to take your shots. I raised those boys to be confident – don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it and keep pushing forward.”
Briar is a freshman at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, Okla. He competes in Central Plains region where he is sitting in the top five in all the events, with the goal to make it to the college finals. After college, he plans to rodeo for a while and then come home and work for his dad. Most of his classes are online, and he spends several months in Arizona in the winter, roping every day. “This is my main source of income right now,” said the #7+header an #8 heeler. “I trade a few horses now and then, but that’s it.” He works his classes into his ropings. “If I miss a roping for class, it’s not a big deal there’s another one the next day.” He will be in Oklahoma the middle of February for his first Spring college rodeo and begin getting ready for the Junior Ironman March 10-12 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla.
Preparation takes on many facets including heading to Tyler Pearson’s (5x NFR qualifier, 2017 World Champion steer wrestler) to find a horse to take to the event, and practice. Horses for calf roping and team roping will come from Briar’s herd. “I train a few of the ones I own – and ride a few colts. We have 8-10 colts at the house. We’ve raised a few and bought a few from online sales,” he explains about his horsepower. “I look for what fits me – size – bigger, I want something I can do both ends on. I’m not real good at breaking them, so I want something I can rope on.”
“There’s a lot of God given talent but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into this,” admits Briar. “Plus the tremendous help I’ve gotten from so many different people. I hope my brothers will be able to look up to me and try to do the things I do just as good or even better than me.”
“I work harder than most people and I’ve had a very supportive family to give me the resources to do what I love. I do it every day – you’ve got to get good at it eventually or you’d give up.”
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