GUYMON, Okla. – Riding for the brand is more than a tag line for ranch cowboys.
For most the elite in ProRodeo, the phrase is more of a nod to sponsors and other supporters. For others who have played the game at the highest level, the slogan is a tip of the hat to their colleges and mentors.
No matter where Allen Boore competes, he’s always representing the red and blue of his alma mater, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, whether its in San Antonio, Pendleton (Oregon) or the National Finals Rodeo.
“Rodeo in that area of the country is very well supported and well known, from the Etbauers to the guys that have come through that program,” said Boore, 29, a two-time NFR qualifier from Axtell, Utah. “I didn’t really know about the tradition that was there until I went out there to check the school out, and then you realize it.”
He will return to the region once known as “No Man’s Land” in a couple of months for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 30; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 1; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. It’s an annual venture for the cowboy, and it’s always nice to return to his old stomping grounds for a chance to win some big bucks.
While rodeoing at Panhandle State, Boore was a two-time qualifier to the College National Finals Rodeo (2012-13). Both times, he just missed advancing to the short round by one spot. A transfer from Southern Utah University as a junior, he won the Central Plains Region’s bronc riding title as a senior in 2013, then was part of the team that claimed the men’s national title.
“It was a pretty awesome feeling when it got done that the six of us on the team had placed in some rounds or the average, and that we all worked together and be able to win the team title,” he said. “Everyone was hoping to win that and win individually, but to get it done was a pretty good accomplishment.”
Of course, he credits the training he received from his mentors – Craig Latham, Robert Etbauer and Dan Etbauer – who were on hand at almost every practice session. He also got some game-day training from some of the top hands in the game who would just show up at practice to sharpen their mettle.
“We’d still get guys like Cort Scheer, Troy Crowser, Taos (Muncy) and Tyrel Larsen, guys that weren’t going to school but would still come to practice, and we’d learn some things from them,” Boore said. “Then we’d have jackpots, and we’d jackpot against guys like that.”
In rodeo, jackpots involve competition where all players put money in a pot, and the top scores take the cash.
“I figured if you could beat them at practice, you could beat them anywhere,” Boore said. “The community is very supportive of rodeo, and the people do what they can to help the school and the individuals succeed.”
He’s found significant success in his career. He first qualified for the NFR in 2016, then finished 18th in both 2017-18. A year later, he finished 22nd. Last year, though, he kicked off a solid campaign and had pocketed about $40,000 by the time COVID-19 shut down the world in mid-March.
When rodeo returned in full by June, he was back to winning. He entered the 2020 NFR in its one-time home of Arlington, Texas, with about $83,000. As one of four cowboys with ties to the Oklahoma Panhandle – he was joined by Panhandle State alums Muncy and bareback rider Orin Larsen as well as bronc rider Wyatt Casper of Balko – he pocketed another $80,000 by winning the third round and placing four other nights.
“After my first time making the finals, I felt like I may have gotten lucky to make it,” he said. “Then after a few years where I didn’t make it, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it back. Last year when I made it back, it was a relief and still exciting that all the hard work, time and effort paid off. I had accomplished the goal that had been set.”
He finished the year fifth in the world standings, his best finish ever. He finished seventh in 2016 and actually earned about $20,000 more that season, but it wasn’t one that was hampered by a global pandemic like the 2020 campaign was.
In fact, it was further proof that he belonged among the top 15. He earned his first NFR go-round victory, and now he holds a great deal of confidence heading into the 2021 campaign. That also means he’s eager to return to the Oklahoma Panhandle to take home some Pioneer Days Rodeo cash the first weekend in May – he is five years removed from sharing the Guymon title with fellow Utahan Ryder Wright, a two-time world champion.
Now Boore is one of many contestants who own a Pioneer Days Rodeo belt, the sought-after, wearable trophy that is awarded to champions each year.
“I wear that when I go to town, so I wear it quite a bit,” Boore said. “It’s pretty special, and I don’t want to ruin it when I’m working on the farm. It’s like a buckle you’re proud of; you don’t want to scuff it up. Not too many places give out a belt. It’s a nice-looking belt with the bronc rider conchos on it. I like it and want to show it off.”
Maybe he’ll add another to his collection in 2021. That will be his goal when he hits his old stomping grounds this spring. He’s only missed the Guymon rodeo a couple of times in his career, but he’d prefer that doesn’t happen.
“I like Guymon’s rodeo, because it’s a good chance to see some old friends and hang out with Robert and Danny and see all those guys you don’t see every day,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite rodeos.
“There’s a lot that goes into it. The people there make that area special. It’s still another rodeo, but it’s almost like family when you go back to town. It’s special.”