Ranch rodeo a fixture for team

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GROESBECK, Texas – Every day that Brian Leathers goes to work, he does so on the back of a horse with a rope in his hand.

“I cowboy for a living,” said Leathers, of Axtell, Texas.

Whether it’s cutting hay, rounding up strays or doctoring cattle, he handles about any task that comes his way. He also takes those skills with him when he plays, primarily at ranch rodeos all across central Texas and beyond.

On Sunday, May 26, Leathers and three friends will try to defend their title at the Wild West Championships’ Invitational Ranch Rodeo, which will take at the Limestone County Fairgrounds in Groesbeck. He partnered with Jake Conrad, Skeeter Ramsey and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo team roper Colby Lovell to win the title last spring, so repeating that feat would be grand.

“It was a good rodeo, and, of course, it’s always better when you win,” he said.

Twenty teams will compete in three events: pasture roping, branding and mugging. Points are accumulated in each category, and the top team wins the lion’s share of the prizes. That’s why having all the tools comes in handy.

“I used to rope calves professionally for a long time,” Leathers said. “I really like the double mugging and that side of it now.

“I always want to win. We win at a lot of the ranch rodeos we go to. We’ve won or placed at just about every big rodeo we’ve been to and have won 23 rodeos in a row.”

When he’s not in the competitive arena, he’s doing whatever jobs come his way. He has a yearling operation, but also does day work as a cowboy whenever the need arises. In mid-March, Leathers was called to nearby Waco, Texas, to help wrangle a bull that had escaped its pen at a veterinary clinic.

Now he’ll carry those skills into the fairgrounds arena to see if he can help entertain the crowd while his team wins its second straight Wild West title.

“I’m lucky to have such a good team of good hands,” Leathers said. “We click together, and we all have good horses. A man needs to try to win when he goes and enters.”


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