story by Ruth Nicolaus Dustin Brewer put on his baggies and cleats for the last time Labor Day weekend at his hometown rodeo in Elk […]
Profile: Trey & Becky White
Written by: Ruth Nicolaus< Back to Articles
Trey and Becky White grew up in rodeo, and have continued in the sport in their adult lives. The husband-wife team from Paxton, Neb. serves as judges at Nebraska junior high and high school rodeos. They got started about six years ago, and judge between twenty and twenty-five rodeos a year.
Both of them grew up in the Cornhusker state and with rodeo, Trey in Mullen, and Becky in Harrison. Trey competed in the tie-down and team roping, and Becky was in the barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tying through high school.
The two knew of each other through high school rodeo, but it was during college rodeo at Chadron (Neb.) State that they started dating. Becky was the Central Rocky Mountain Region Barrel Racing director from 2009-2010, and was chosen as the 2011 Miss Rodeo Nebraska. She served her year then transferred to Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte.
Trey graduated from Chadron State with an art education degree in 2011, and Becky is currently working on her degree in nursing at Mid-Plains Community College. He got a job as the art teacher at Paxton Public School following graduation, and they married in May of 2014. While she attends school, Becky works as a pharmacy tech at Great Plains Health in North Platte.
The two began judging to stay involved in rodeo. The best part of judging is the kids, they both agree. “Watching the kids grow and succeed, and watching them become better horsemen,” is what Trey considers his favorite part. He and Becky both enjoy getting to know the youth. Some of the junior high students who were rodeoing when they started six years ago are now high school students, and watching them grow up is fun, Becky said. She also enjoys the sense of camaraderie and family. “I like that when we go to a rodeo, it’s an extended family. We get to know a lot of the parents, and when we see them outside the arena, or outside the rodeo industry, they say hi.”
Judges sometimes get chewed out for their decisions, but both of the Whites have learned how to handle it. For Trey, “you just have to shake it off and go to the next one.” For Becky, it’s a bit different. “For me, being a female, we take things a little harder than a male. The first time I judged, I was pretty nervous about it. I didn’t want to give any penalties because I knew I’d get yelled at. But it got easier. I think parents respect you when you’re tougher. They see you’re not an easy pushover, you’re going to stand up for what you did and go by the rules.”
There is a process for complaints in both junior high and high school rodeo, and that helps. “Each event has a student director and an adult director, and there’s a chain of command. If a contestant has questions, they’re supposed to go to the student director, then the adult director, then approach us. We’re the last stop in the chain.”
There’s more to judging than what takes place inside the arena, Trey said. People don’t realize the amount of work that goes into it. Judges are at a rodeo two to three hours prior to its start, taking care of the barriers, eyes, barrel patterns, checking stock, and more.
In addition to judging, the couple rides and trains horses, including a few young ones. Becky is working on her bachelor’s of nursing degree, which she will have completed by December of this year. Trey occasionally team ropes at local jackpots.
Becky may be a familiar face to those who watch TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress show. She was chosen to be on the show, in part because they had never featured a rodeo queen. The show aired in May of 2014.
The Whites were honored to be chosen to judge the Nebraska Junior High Finals in Grand Island in May of 2015. Trey was chosen as the Nebraska High School Rodeo Judge of the Year in 2014 and 2015.
Trey also judges Nebraska State Rodeo Association rodeos, and was selected as one of the judges for their 2015 finals.