Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Colleen Wright
PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico University rodeo coach David Browder is a man who lives and breathes rodeo.
In fact, he just won the New Mexico Rodeo Association Finals bareback bronc competition in Las Vegas, N.M. The year-end saddle he won was sponsored by Notah Begay III, PGA Tour Professional Golfer, of Albuquerque, NM.
Born in Kansas and raised in Nebraska, Browder grew up surrounded by rodeos. Since beginning to compete in rodeos in the fifth grade, he has competed in every event except steer wrestling. His first rodeos were in the Little Britches Rodeo Association, as well as other junior rodeo associations.
"I have always loved competing in rodeos because of the goals it makes me set," Browder says. "To this day when I ride in a rodeo I still set goals for myself."
In high school Browder competed in three state associations: Kansas, South Dakota, and Iowa. As a high school junior he was state champion in bareback bronc riding in Iowa, and as a senior he was the state champion in Kansas.
He began his college career on a rodeo scholarship at Fort Scott Community College. Then, he went to Fort Hays State University in Kansas, and finished his bachelor's in technology education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
His senior year he rode in the College National Finals Rodeo in Bozeman, Mont. "I found college rodeo a little harder," Browder says. "It took a little time to get use to the step up in competition."
He took his first job teaching junior high in Dimmit, Texas. He then got a job as a rodeo coach at Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari. In 2000 his odyssey brought him to ENMU as the rodeo coach.
Browder says ENMU President Steven Gamble has done many things to improve the program. "He has been very supportive," Browder says, "which the team and I really appreciate."
Though coaching keeps Browder busy, he always makes time to compete in rodeos. During the summer he travels throughout the Western states. During his rodeo career, he has ridden in every state west of the Mississippi, and a few on the east side. Two of the biggest and most exciting include the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, and the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Presently, he competes in smaller rodeos in three semi-professional associations in the four-state region. He has already won the titles of 2002 KPRA Champion Bareback Rider (Kansas Professional Rodeo Association), and NMRA (New Mexico Rodeo Association), and is 2nd in TCRA (Texas Cowboys Rodeo Association).
"I still try to set goals for myself," Browder says. "This time I made the goal to win my event in two of the three associations, which I've now accomplished."
Individual rodeos he has won this summer in bareback include the Westcliffe Stampede in Westcliffe, Colo., Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Sumner, N.M., Oh Kay Casino Bares, Bulls and Broncs Blowout in Espanola, N.M., Gateway to Oklahoma Fourth of July Rodeo in Erick, Okla., and the Colfax County Fair and Rodeo in Springer, N.M. He also won all three rodeos in his former hometown of Lakin, Kan.
As a man who lives and breathes rodeo, Browder may also have to occasionally breathe in the dust of distant arenas – but the smile on his face when he gets up makes you think that, to him, it is just a cloud of rarefied air.
Browder has a passion for coaching; he says the kids are what really make it worthwhile. "I think it really helps because I am still competing in rodeos," Browder explained. "It shows I know what they are going through and really strengthens the bonds between us."
This Ain't No Drug-Store Cowboy
ENMU rodeo coach David Browder just won the New Mexico Rodeo Association Finals bareback bronc competition in Las Vegas, N.M. The year-end saddle he won was sponsored by Notah Begay III, PGA Tour Professional Golfer, of Albuquerque, N.M.
(photo by Janice Friend)