Cowboy up

Collbran teen approaches finals like any other rodeo

For most teenagers, competing in the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association State Finals would be a bit intimidating.

With autograph signing sessions, large crowds and the best competition in the state, it’s a step above your normal rodeo.

But for Collbran resident and Plateau Valley High School senior Ty Wallace, the event was no sweat.

“It’s just another rodeo,” he said. “Just gotta take it one bull at a time.”

The weekend capped the rookie season for Wallace, 17, who led CPRA’s bull riders in earnings during the season, which started in March.

Wallace finished the three-day rodeo tied with Travis Weber for third place overall with 159 points, including a fourth-place finish during Friday’s go and a first place Saturday. He failed to place Sunday.

“It’s been really good,” he said. “I’ve been healthy. That’s the biggest concern is being healthy, and I’ve been riding good.”

Wallace got his start riding as a child. He took to riding horses at age 2 and moved to bucking animals when he was 3.

He progressed through calves, steers and junior bulls before getting on the full-sized bulls at age 14.

“I just grew up with it,” he said. “It’s just something you grow up with. It’s your lifestyle.”

Wallace has frequented Colorado State High School Rodeo Association events. He was a state champion in 2010, but took second place this year by three points.

He also has had success at the National High School Finals Rodeo, hosted by the National High School Rodeo Association. He qualified for the event each of his first three years of high school.

He credits the success he’s had to simple dedication.

Wallace rides three to four bulls per week and uses other forms of training to help perfect his ride, including a Mighty Bucky mechanical bull. He also rides colts, which he said have a similar motion to that of a bull.

“You just work hard for what you want and you strive for the best and hope it works out.” he said. “You work hard. Everything you do, you just live bullriding.”

He’s had numerous injuries, including broken legs, a broken jaw and separated ribs, but never let them keep him off a bull.

“You can’t think about that,” he said. “You’ve just got to keep going and thank the good Lord that you’re still riding and doing good.”

The CPRA Finals gave him a chance to ride in front of home-crowd supporters, but he hopes to eventually work his way to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

“It’s always been my dream,” he said. “It’s the rodeo of all rodeos and is something I really want to do.

“I’ll hopefully be a world champion one of these days.”

But right now, he just tries to make sure that when he’s on the bull, he’s enjoying the ride.

“It’s a little bit of glory and it’s exciting,” he said. “Nothing feels better than to (score) a lot of points, step off and know who you are.”


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