Hamel Rodeo Crowns Champions

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Hamel Rodeo and Bull Ridin’ Bonanza committee

HAMEL, Minn. – Bull rider Gumby Wren hates sitting on the couch watching TV.

He’d much rather be riding bulls, and at the Hamel (Minn.) Rodeo and Bull Ridin’ Bonanza, he demonstrated a decided aptitude for it.

The Peru, Neb., cowboy scored 88 points on the David Bailey Rodeo Company bull Helter Skelter to win the gold buckle and a check for $3,199.

“He was really good,” Wren said of the bull. “He went to the right for about two (jumps), then stepped ahead a little bit and came into my hand. That’s always a good sign, when they come back into your hand, and you have a good seat. It all worked out.”

Wren has had more experience than he’d like, sitting on the couch. The 23 year old cowboy broke a rib in his back last year, when a bull ran a horn into the middle of his back and threw him eight feet into the air. There’s no putting a cast on a broken rib, so Wren was forced to sit out.

“You can’t do anything about it but lay on the couch and watch TV,” he said, “and that’s no fun, when you’re sitting at home and not rodeoing.”

Wren bought his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association permit in 2012 and his card in 2014, which was his rookie year. He’s competed at the Hamel Rodeo the past four years, and finished second in the permit bull riding in 2012. The rodeo hosts a special contest for the bareback riding and bull riding for permit holders only, allowing cowboys who are permit holders to compete twice: once in the permit section, and once in the regular rodeo. This year, Shane O’Connell won the bareback riding permit section and Ryan Knutson won the bull riding permit section.

Wren’s rodeo year got off to a “rocky and slow,” but it’s picked up in the last week. In addition to winning first at Hamel, he finished fourth at the Spooner (Wisc.) rodeo with a score of 83.

“I’m hoping to keep it going the rest of the summer,” he said. “I went through the bad luck to get to the good luck.”

Wren acquired his unusual name when he was learning to walk. The animated Gumby character was popular at the time, and as Wren kept falling down and getting back up, his dad gave him the nickname.

“They didn’t think it would stick, and now I’m 23 years old and that’s what everybody knows me by,” Wren said. His given name is Garrett.

Other 2015 champions are bareback rider Casey Breuer, Mandan, N.D. (80 points), tie-down roper Kadin Boardman, Jackson, Mo. (19.8 seconds on two head), team ropers Logan Olson, Flandreau, S.D., and Jordan Olson, Surprise, Ariz. (11.8 seconds on two head), steer wrestler Grant Hart, Conway, Ark. (10.1 seconds on two head), barrel racers Robin Beck, Moville, Iowa, and Sue Berg, Bloomington, Minn. (15.26 seconds each), and saddle bronc rider David Martin, Zwingle, Iowa, (79 points).

The Hamel Rodeo is a fundraiser for four area non-profit organizations, and in its 35 years, has raised more than $1.5 million for those groups. For more information, visit the website at

Courtesy of PRCA