Steer wrestler Brad Loesch thought his rodeo career was ending in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought rodeos, and the world for that matter, to a standstill.
“When COVID-19 hit, I sold my horse (Chex) and my trailer because I didn’t know how it was going to affect my business,” Loesch said. “Fortunately, I did sell my horse and trailer because there were no rodeos, and on top of that I had an injury, I hurt my tailbone the year prior, and I was trying to recover from that during the winter. I stopped rodeoing in March when COVID hit, and our business just spiked like crazy. I own Cow Horse Supply (in Graham, Texas). I manufacture all the leather cinches you see all the top hands using in the bulldogging. We also manufacture bits and horse training equipment since my dad (Doug) started the business. We have been to all the cutting horse shows all these years.
“I’m just now 49 years old, getting a horse and trailer put together so I can rodeo because God has placed this opportunity in my hands. We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m going like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, running around trying to touch all the bases.”
An improbable chain of events unfolded for Loesch last week. Loesch, who bought his PRCA card in 1994, had earned $83,794 in his 20-plus years of ProRodeo before this season.
With Luther, a 15-year-old horse he picked up May 26, Loesch arrived at the Bandera (Texas) Pro Rodeo and clocked a blistering 3.4-second run for the victory. The time was the fastest of the week of May 24-30.
“I picked the horse up Wednesday, exercised him on Thursday and rode him Friday, and that was the first steer I had run in about 380 days,” said Loesch, who earned $1,103 for the win. “My wife (Deborah) and I were able to make it to Bandera in the rain and lightning (May 28), and it was pretty dang awesome. I was very humbled to have that opportunity. I drew a good steer and that’s a great horse. I bought him from Brother Loud, and it was nice to see that opportunity. It’s muscle memory once you get a hold of them. Luther and I are just a couple of old fellas trying to get it done.”
Loud, also a steer wrestler, set two records at the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo while riding Luther in 2018. He set a record in 3.4 seconds and set the average record at 7.5 seconds on two head.
Loesch’s time was two-tenths of a second off the fastest time of the season – a 3.2-second run recorded by Billy Bugenig in Clovis, Calif.
“My wife and I have prayed about this a lot, and I kind of feel God’s hand on it,” Loesch said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to win every time and it doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything because it rains on the just and unjust. I feel like I have an opportunity and God has me in a good place to be able to go compete with these guys. I’m humbled to have the opportunity because there was a day I didn’t think I would have the opportunity. It has all come together. I got a really great deal on a trailer, and I got an opportunity to buy a great horse, and those are things you need to compete with these top guys.”
Next up for Loesch is Hugo, Okla., Durant, Okla., and possibly Mesquite, Texas.
“I really don’t have goals set in stone because all this just came together and I just started entering rodeos,” Loesch said. “I would like to put myself in position to make the (Texas) circuit finals again, which I have made four times, and I’ve never made the National Circuit Finals Rodeo. I want to put myself in position to be able to get into the buildings next year.”
The other top runs and times from last week are listed below.
Bareback riders Cole Franks and Clayton Biglow had 89-point rides to share the win at the MSU-Northern PRCA Extreme Bares & Broncs Challenge in Havre, Mont. Biglow was on J Bar J’s Bunny Hugger, and Franks’ trip was aboard J Bar J’s Honey Hawk.
Team ropers Marcus Theriot and Cole Curry had a 4.4-second run at the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, Okla.
Steer roper Landon McClaugherty clocked a 9.4-second run at the John Perry Wickett Memorial in Claremore.
Bull riders Roscoe Jarboe and Josh Frost had 90-point rides to win in Palmer, Alaska, and Cave Creek, Ariz., respectively. Jarboe’s ride was on Outlaw Buckers Rodeo’s Brahma Boots Chrome at the Northernmost Xtreme Bull Riding in America, while Frost’s trip was on 4L & Diamond S Rodeos’ Space Unicorn at Cave Creek Rodeo Days.
Courtesy of PRCA