For Timber Allenbrand, the sport of rodeo has been ideal preparation for a successful future. She has been competing in the sport, and leading with […]
On the Trail with the Thompson Family
Written by: Lily Landreth< Back to Articles
Zane Thompson has grown up in the arena. From junior high rodeos to the WHSRA, the 17 year old from Cheyenne, Wyo., believes that home is in the saddle, including working Cheyenne Frontier Days with his dad, Frank Thompson, who is the arena director for the Daddy of ‘em All. Not only do Zane and Frank work the arena during performances, but Zane’s 12-year-old sister, Madison, does her share of work during slack, while their mom, Dawn Thompson is the Malt Beverage Manager and volunteer coordinator for Cheyenne Frontier Days.
“I come back to help at Frontier Days every year because of how much a person can learn,” says Zane, who competes in the WHSRA in steer wrestling, team roping, reined cowhorse, and his favorite, tie-down roping. “If I’m going to be in that arena for ten days, I try to learn something from every run. Not a lot of kids have that opportunity, and I figure I’d better take advantage of it!” Zane qualified for the 2014 NHSFR in team roping and qualified again for 2015, this time in reined cowhorse. “I’ve always had some interest in showing horses, and Brent Lewis, the guy I set as my idol, has shown quite a few horses and always says it made him a better roper. You learn how to ride your horse better and read a cow.”
Zane’s goal was to qualify for Nationals in his roping events, but missing his steer and breaking the barrier in the team roping at state finals decided otherwise. “Not making it in my other events this year is a wakeup call for me, and I’ll stay more focused,” says Zane, who plans to buy his PRCA permit when he turns 18. He did, however, compete at the IFYR with his roping partner, Riley Curuchet, before returning home to help with Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Zane, has been helping in the arena since he was seven, and is now in charge of hooking and picking up flank straps, as well as helping with the wild horse race. He and his dad spend more time in the saddle than on their feet. “It gets kind of grueling, but it does for everyone,” says Frank, who has been the arena director for Cheyenne Frontier Days since 2012. The PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler in 2000, Frank grew up rodeoing in South Dakota and later, the NIRA Central Rocky Mountain Region, which he won in the steer wrestling in 1988. He met Dawn several years later at the National Western Stock Show and they were married soon after. Frank started volunteering at Cheyenne Frontier Days in the mid ‘90s, while Dawn had been working for the rodeo since 1988. “I was rodeoing all the time, but after I quit rodeoing for a living in 2005, I became more and more involved in Frontier Days,” says Frank. “I was ready to be home with my family. Zane was almost ten and I’d had my time rodeoing. I was ready to be home. I was scared to death of regretting my decision – when rodeo is such a huge part of your life, it’s scary to quit all of a sudden, but working for Cheyenne has helped. When you’re involved in the Daddy of ‘em All, you get your rodeo fix in different ways.”
Full story available in our July 15, 2015 issue. Available online!