Rising Rodeo Star: Prairie Circuit Bareback Rider Garrett Shadbolt - RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo

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Rising Rodeo Star: Prairie Circuit Bareback Rider Garrett Shadbolt

bareback rider

Rising Rodeo Star: Prairie Circuit Bareback Rider Garrett Shadbolt

As the chords of the National Anthem are played, the chutes are loaded with broncs. Before buckling their chaps and sliding down onto 1,500 pounds of high-flying bronc, riders give the honor to God and salute the American flag. In one fluid motion, riders shove their hats down, lean back, and nod for the chute gates to open for the wildest rides in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Learn more about bareback rider Garrett Shadbolt, a rising star in the rodeo industry. 

Getting started in rodeo

In the early years of high school, Garrett was too busy as a student-athlete to consider riding broncs. He was focused on a future in wrestling until he began to break colts on their family ranch. A few bucked, and after staying on, he decided to give the sport of rodeo a try. Starting out, Garrett rode ranch broncs, where riders use their everyday working saddles in competition. They are not required to mark out their broncs and can grab a dog collar attached to their saddles with their free hand. 

At 16 years old, he traveled to South Dakota to attend a rodeo bible camp. Here is where Garrett’s interest in riding bucking horses took off. Before shoving his hand into a riggin’, Garrett held onto a bronc rein and did his best to stay in the saddle. He quickly decided to switch from saddle bronc to bareback. This transition can be challenging for a rider to accomplish because the two are entirely different. Saddle bronc riders rely on precise technique, where bareback riders depend on a whole lot of strength and overall athleticism. 

Becoming a bareback champion

With his dad’s old gear and years of experience, Garrett swapped the rein for a riggin. It’s no surprise that riding broncs came naturally to Garrett. Keeping in rhythm, especially with the wild ones, was something he was good at. However, that’s not to say that he didn’t face his fair share of tribulations. In the beginning, he just wasn’t strong enough to compete with the power and intensity of a bronc. Though wrestling helped by exposing him to lifting weights and exercises, he had to build up his riding arm. After hitting the weights and becoming stronger, Garrett grew more consistent with experience. As he improved as a competitor, he learned how to balance strength and finesse instead of solely relying on strength to make the 8. 

After graduating with a chemistry degree and wrapping up collegiate wrestling, Garrett grew serious with bareback riding. With help from his dad, Quentin, and bronc rider Corey Evans, Garrett won the 2019 Resistol Rookie of the Year. Throughout the year, he makes sure to hit several of his favorite PRCA sanctioned rodeos like the Pendleton Round-UpNational Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, and St. George Lions Dixie Round-up Rodeo. Garrett spoke very highly of his experience in Utah this past summer. In the midst of COVID-19, the outdoor arena was packed, and they paid tribute to law enforcement. If you ask rodeo contestants what they love about rodeoing, you’ll hear the word patriotic somewhere in their answer. Though the pro rodeo action draws them to the sport, the morals, friendships, and camaraderie keep the contestants and fans coming back for more. 

Life outside of rodeo

When Garrett is not rodeoing, he works on his family’s ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. However, he does get to travel and venture out to rodeos as he pleases. His dad wasn’t able to rodeo much while growing up due to the never-ending work of raising American Angus, a breed of beef cattle. Quentin, his dad, made it a point to support his son’s rodeo dreams, making it possible for Garrett to experience the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo this past year with his son, George, and wife, Katie, where he covered Night Gazer of Pickett Pro Rodeo for 86 in the short round at Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.

What sets the RAM NCFR apart from the rest? 

As a first-time qualifier for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Garrett is excited to see different rodeo contestants in Florida. Throughout the year, competitors travel together, especially when trying to qualify for their circuit finals. Besides the fact that there is a lot of money to be won, the nation’s best livestock travels to Kissimmee to go head to head with the nation’s most talented cowboys and cowgirls in seven of the traditional rodeo events. 

When you’re in Kissimmee for the rodeo, catch Garrett at the RAM NCFR! Subscribe to our Buckle Bulletin for more information regarding purchasing tickets for the 2021 rodeo! Will we see you there on April 9 & 10?

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