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Oklahoma Bulldogger Takes Lead in Coffeyville

by Jim Bainbridge | Aug 14, 2014

By Ruth Nicolaus/for the Inter-State Rodeo

COFFEYVILLE, Kan. – All the stars seemed to align for Oklahoma steer wrestler Brady McFarren Aug. 14 at the Inter-State Rodeo.

He’s traveling with two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Stan Williamson and riding his horse, his hazer is doing well, and he turfed a steer that two cowboys prior to him missed.

That’s exactly the situation Brady McFarren found himself in Thursday, at the second performance of the Inter-State Rodeo. The 25-year-old steer wrestler took the lead in the second go-round and in the average with his run of 3.8 seconds on Thursday night.

Brady ran his first go-round steer in slack on Thursday morning in 4.7 seconds to tie for fifth place, and combined with his run in the evening performance, he leads the average with a time of 8.5 seconds on two head.

He grew up in Indiana with a granddad who was a bulldogger, and he competed in high school rodeo, but he wasn’t very good. “I crashed a lot,” he said.

Indiana wasn’t really a hot bed for rodeo, so he came to Ft. Scott (Kan.) Community College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, and his steer wrestling improved.

“I had a really nice bulldogging horse,” McFarren said, “but I never got to practice in high school. I got to college and got to practice a couple times a week.”

He also had two mentors who helped. Stewart Gulager and Stockton Graves, who has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo seven times, worked with him. “They helped me a bunch.”

McFarren credited his mount for his two good runs in Coffeyville. He’s been riding Williamson’s 12-year-old horse, Robert, who he describes as “one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden.”

The horse is named Robert because he was purchased from Robert Martin of Oologah, Okla. “I’ve won almost $10,000 (at amateur rodeos) on him since June,” McFarren said. “That horse works every time. I’m just glad Stan and his wife DeLonda let me ride him.”

Four other steer wrestlers rode Robert during the Thursday’s performances: Tanner McElhaney, Tom Duvall, Mitchell Gardner, and Williamson.

McFarren is still in his permit membership of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, but if his time in the steer wrestling holds, his winnings in Coffeyville will help him move to card status. And he and traveling partner McElhaney have big plans.

“This (competition) right here should help me fill my permit,” McFarren said, “and we’re going to go hard this winter, and see if we can go out there and play with the big boys.”

McFarren’s granddad, Pete Johnson, is proud. “He came down this summer and watched. It was the first time he’d seen me bulldog in about ten years.”

Fast times and high scores from the Aug. 14 night performance were provided by bareback rider Brian Leddy, Roll, Okla. (70), tie-down roper Cole Wilson, Kincaid, Kan. (8.8 seconds), saddle bronc rider Shane Hand, Weatherford, Okla. (72), team ropers Troy Boone, Mutual, Okla. and Dawson McMaster, Madison, Kan. (6.4), steer roper Brad Prather, Skiatook, Okla. (11.9), and barrel racer Laura Kennedy, Quitman, Ark. (17.82). No bull riders made the eight second buzzer tonight.

Courtesy of PRCA