BELLVILLE, Texas – Audy Reed is just 22 years old, but he’s wise beyond his years.
Part of that is a university education in saddle bronc riding while attending Oklahoma Panhandle State University, the best-known bronc riding school in all of rodeo.
Part of it is traveling with experienced cowboys. Combined, Chet Johnson, Tyler Corrington and Cort Scheer have 12 qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand finale that takes place in Las Vegas each December.
Reed is now heading to the Nevada desert for the first time, having qualified 15th in the world standings. Before he heads west, though, he moved into the saddle bronc riding lead at the Austin County Fair and Rodeo in Bellville after posting an 84-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone.
“This is a good set up, and the crowd is really good,” he said. “You also have great hospitality; plus, it’s in Texas, and you can’t beat that.”
Spoken like a true Texan. Reed was raised near Spearman, Texas, in the extreme northern portion of the state’s Panhandle. Now he’ll be one of the many Texans in the field in Vegas.
“Going to the NFR is everyone’s goal every year,” said Reed, who finished 24th in 2016. “I’m just glad to be going. I have a good traveling group, and they’ve all been there. You want to be the high score in the van, and to beat those guys, you sure have to ride good; it doesn’t happen very often.”
Johnson handles much of the business in the group, so that takes a load off the other three. He’s also the most experience; now 37, Johnson is a four-time NFR qualifier.
“We’ve looked at it, and I think Chet’s rookie year was the same year I was in kindergarten,” Reed said with a bit of a chuckle. “It’s good to have those guys that know the ropes.”
Because of their lessons, he’s living out his dreams that he’s had since he was a little boy riding just about anything he could.
“I knew what I wanted to do from a young age,” he said. “A lot of guys that have rodeoed a lot longer have never gotten to go to the NFR. When stuff falls your way, you just appreciate it. You’ve got to have a lot of luck.”
It takes a lot of luck and a great amount of talent. Reed had it before he attended college at Bronc Rider U in the Oklahoma Panhandle, just a 45-mile drive from home. There he was taught by some of the greatest cowboys in the history of the game: Robert Etbauer, a two-time world champion; Billy Etbauer, a five-time world titlist; and Dan Etbauer and Craig Latham, both of whom were multiple-time NFR qualifiers.
“Anyone that wants to be a bronc rider goes to school there,” Reed said. “They’ll figure it out there. You either rise to the top or just stay where you’re at. It’s a good atmosphere, and you have a lot of good guys that are there to help you.”
Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Bareback riding: 1. Winn Ratliff, 79 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Bar Maid; 2. (tie) Clint Laye and Kenny Haworth, 71; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: 1. Matt Reeves, 4.2 seconds; 2. Morgan Grant, 4.3; 3. Tyler Waguespack, 5.0; 4. Jacob Edler, 5.3; 5. Cade Staton, 5.5; 6. Riley Duvall, 5.8; 7. Termaine Dubose, 5.9; 8. Matt Cupp, 6.2.
Team roping: 1. Andrew Livingston/Twister Cain, 4.5 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Shawn Turner, 4.7; 3. Tee Luttrell/Corey Hendrick, 6.1; 4. Chuck Butler/Dale Martin Jr., 7.0; 5. Manny Egusquiza/Daniel Braman, 10.5; 6. Cole Frey/Reid Halbert, 14.9; no other qualified times.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Audy Reed, 84 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Tombstone; 2. Dawson Hay, 76;3. Cort Scheer, 75.5; 4. Take Owens, 74.5; 5. Treyson Antonick, 71; 6. Chet Johnson, 70.5; no other qualified rides.
Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Cooper Mathews, 7.7 seconds; 2. Tanner Green, 8.1; 3. Justin Smith, 8.6; 4. Trenton Smith, 8.7; 5. Clint Nyegaard, 8.9; 6. Chantz Webster, 9.1; 7. Cooper Raley, 9.2; 8. B Braxton Laughlin, 9.3.
Barrel racing leaders: 1. Lisa Thornton, 14.75; 2. Blythe Beshears, 14.87; 3. Shelley Morgan, 14.95; 4. (tie) Robyn Herring and Tammy Fischer, 14.97 each; 6. Fallon Taylor, 14.98; 7. Brittany Grant, 15.05; 8. Amanda Cupp, 15.10; 9. Katelyn Scott, 15.11; 10. (tie) Ari-Anna Flynn and Chaney Speight, 15.17 each; 12. Kimmi Byler, 15.18.
Steer roping: First round: 1. Garrett Hale, 8.9 seconds, $1,117; 2. (tie) Bryce Davis and Vin Fisher Jr., 10.2, $698 each; 4 (tie) Mike Chase and Ralph Williams, 10.4, $140 each. Second round: 1. Jim Locke, 9.5 seconds, $1,117; 2. Landon McClaugherty, $838; 3. Roger Branch, 9.7, $559; 4. Vin Fisher Jr., 10.0, $279. Average: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 20.2 seconds on two runs, $1,676; 2. Rocky Patterson, 21.0; $1,257; 3. Trevor Brazile, 21.7, $838; 4. Bryce Davis, 21.8, $419.
Bull riding: 1. Boudreaux Campbell, 85.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s No. 414; 2. Sage Kimzey, 84; 3. Tyler Bingham, 77.5; 4. Koby Radley, 74.5; no other qualified rides.