NEOSHO, Mo. – D.V. Fennell knows what it takes to win.
From a high level of competitiveness to having the right friends in the right places, Fennell has been getting it done on the rodeo trail. A two-time qualifier to
the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Oklahoma cowboy leads the bareback riding standings in the International Professional Rodeo Association, the American Cowboys Rodeo Association and the Cowboy Rodeo Association.
“I’m not traveling quite as hard as I once did, but I figure if I’m going to ride bucking horses, then, shoot, I’d better do it to the very best of my ability,” said Fennell, a long-time Neosho resident. “The way I look at it is if I’m going to nod my head, I may as well try to win the rodeo.”
He’s done that more often than not. In fact, Fennell has competed in about 30 rodeos this season. Of those, he’s won bareback riding titles at more than two-thirds.
“I actually won three rodeos in a row this weekend,” Fennell said Sunday, July 22. “I actually had an equipment problem, but my buddy, Eric, helped me out a ton with that.”
Fennell is talking about Neosho State Farm Insurance agent Eric Norris, who is Fennell’s primary sponsor. When Fennell returned from a recent rodeo trip that was hampered by a worn bareback rigging, a replacement awaited him.
“Eric made sure I had that when I got home,” Fennell said. “He’s been a great friend, and I am very thankful that he’s been on board with me, not only with my insurance, but with my rodeo career, too.”
In fact, Norris and several others who follow the sport have made their presence felt at rodeos across this land. They will be out in full force when Fennell competes Aug. 9 at the event in Carthage, Mo.
“The fans have been awesome everywhere we go,” Fennell said. “I love riding bucking horses, but the fans are why I love to do this. I appreciate each and every one of them.”
Whether he’s riding in a small rodeo in eastern Oklahoma or in Las Vegas, Fennell wears the Norris’ State Farm brand wherever he rides.
“I can’t say enough about Eric, because he’s stuck by me no matter what trouble I’ve had,” Fennell said. “He understands the nature of the game, and he’s OK with it. That’s a real friend.”