Wimberley finds comfort in Bellville

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Cheyenne Wimberley finished second at Bellville's rodeo after posting a 15.26-second run Saturday night. She will return to the National Finals Rodeo after a 21-year hiatus. (PHOTO BY PEGGY GANDER)

BELLVILLE, Texas – The rodeo trail is an oxymoron of sorts; it can be the path to greatness and a chance for riches in Las Vegas each December, but it’s a lonesome highway filled with a roller coaster of emotions thousands of miles from home.

Cheyenne Wimberely knows the curves and hills and the passing lanes along the way, and on Saturday night, they led the Stephenville, Texas, cowgirl to Bellville for the final performance of the Austin County Fair and Rodeo.

“I’ve been here several times over the years,” said Wimberley, who stopped the clock in 15.26 seconds to finish second in barrel racing, pocketing $2,237. “I haven’t been here in a (performance) in quite a few years, because I’ve always been up in slack.”

She obviously found it to her liking, and it’s a good step. She concluded the 2019 regular season on Sept. 30 with $90,361 and will return to the National Finals Rodeo for the third time in her long career.

Here’s the rub, though: This marks her first appearance at ProRodeo’s grand finale since 1998.

“I wasn’t sure when I left in ’98 that I’d ever go back,” she said. “We went a lot of miles this year, and that’s pretty much what drove me home the first time. It’s a long season, and we’re glad to be back in Texas.”

Rodeo contestants that make their living in the game travel tens of thousands of miles a year in order to chase their gold-buckle dreams. She’s competed all across the country with a trailer full of horses. She raced at nearly 100 rodeos in 2019 and proved that she has the ability to ride great horses for big money.

“I never quit riding, and I trained barrel horses and futurity horses,” Wimberley said “I did odds-and-ends jobs, and I was in the insurance business for about seven years. For the last 15 years, I’ve had numerous horses; I have 35 horses at my house right now.”

The talented bay mare she rode in Bellville might just be one of the mounts she will have in Vegas in two months, so it was nice to get the 2020 campaign off to a good start.

“She’s been off six months, so she’s just getting her groove back,” she said. “this is her second time to run, so I’m really glad she put a run together.

“I think what makes this NFR qualification special is that I’m going on multiple horses. I rode four horses during the year. To be able to do that as a rider at my age, it was something I wanted to be able to master each horse, to be able to ride each horse to its capability. I think it was a huge achievement.”

She also will be part of a neat family get-together in the Nevada desert.

“My cousins are the Crawley brothers in bronc riding,” she said of Jacobs, a nine-time NFR qualifier and the 2015 world champion, and Sterling, a six-time finalist. “We are all going together for the first time. My dad played a big role in teaching them to ride and getting them started on horses.”

But first things first, and that was doing well in Bellville. She was just 11-hundredths of a second behind the champion, Leia Pleumer, and both ladies have a strong start to 2020.

“The committee did amazing here,” Wimberley said. “There aren’t many rodeos that tractor before the barrel racing and again during it. That makes for a better playing field and a more even playing field.”

That makes the Austin County Fair’s Rodeo a pretty nice place to play.

Austin County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 10-12
Bellville, Texas

All-around cowboy: Clay Smith, $3,143 in steer roping and team roping.
Bareback riding:
1. Cole Reiner, 82.5 points on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Rawhide, $1,923; 2. Leighton Berry, 77. $1,457; 3. Tanner Phipps, 76, $1,049; 4. (tie) Yance Day and Winn Ratliff, 74, $554 each; 6. Blade Elliott, 72, $291.

Steer wrestling: 1. Kalane Anders, 3.5 seconds, $2,140; 2. (tie) Jacob Edler and Cody Harmon, 3.7, $1,722 each; 4. Cade Goodman, 4.1, $1,303; 5. (tie) Kodie Jang and Jacob Talley, 4.3, $884; 7. Shayde Tree Etherton, 4.4, $465; 8. Aaron Vosler, 4.5, $186.

Team roping: 1. Cyle Denison/Lane Mitchell, 3.8 seconds, $2,768; 2. Lightning Aguilera/Brady Norman, 4.1, $2,477; 3. (tie) Quisto Lopez/B.J. Dugger and Clay Smith/Jade Corkill, 4.2, $2,040; 5. Garrett Chick/Walt Woodard, 4.3, $1,603; 6. Colby Lovell/Corey Hendrick, 4.6, $1,311; 7. Shane Philipp/John Philipp, 4.7, $1,020; 8. Caleb Smidt/Logan Moore, 4.8, $729; 9. Joe Hub Baker/Chuck Butler, 5.0, $437; 9. Aaron Macy/Jason Johe, 5.1, $146.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. (tie) Jarrod Hammons, on United Pro Rodeo’s Sky Fall, and Parker Kempfer, on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Cimarron, 81.5 points, $1,684 each; 3. Cole Elshere, 80, $1,080; 4. Chet Johnson, 78, $699; 5. Jacobs Crawley, 77, $445; 6. Curtis Garton, 76.5, $318; 7. Rider Sanford, 74.5, $254; 8. Taygen Schuelke, 73.5, $191.

Tie-down roping: 1. Zack Jongbloed, 8.1 seconds, $2,508; 2. Marcos Costa, 8.5, $2,181; 3. (tie) Kyle Parish and Tanner Green, 8.6, $1,690; 5. (tie) Shad Mayfield and Cade Swor, 8.7, $1,036; 7. Landyn Duncan, 9.2, $545; 8. Landyn Duncan, 9.2, $218.

Barrel racing: 1. Leia Pluemer, 15.14 seconds, $2,632; 2. Cheyenne Wimberley, 15.26, $2,237; 3. Stevi Hillman, 15.32, $1,842; 4. Alishea Broussard, 15.37, $1,579; 5. Lisa Thornton, 15.45, $1,316; 6. Jimmie Smith, 15.48, $921; 7. Taylor Langdon, 15.50, $658; 8. Shelley Morgan, 15.54, $526; 9. Fallon Taylor, 15.55, $461; 10. Kelsey Knight, 15.56, $394; 11. (tie)Kelly Tovar, Cassidy Champlin and Lori Todd, 15.59, $197 each.

Steer roping: First round: 1. (tie) Clay Smith and Jim Locke, 9.7 seconds, $1,103 each; 3. Tuf Cooper, 10.0, $791; 4. Trevor Brazile, 10.2, $583; 5. Cole Patterson, 10.4, $375; 6. Jess Tierney, 10.7, $208. Second round: 1. Cole Patterson, 9.9 seconds, $1,207; 2. (tie) Jason Stockton and Lawson Plemons, 10.2, $895 each; 4. Tanner Green, 10.8, $583; 5. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Landon McClaugherty, 10.9, $291 each. Average: 1. Cole Patterson, 20.3 seconds on two head, $1,811; 2. (tie) Jim Locke and Trevor Brazile, 21.1, $1,343 each; 4. Jess Tierney, 22.0, $874; 5. Tuf Cooper, 22.9, $562; 6. Scott Snedecor, 24.4, $312.

Bull riding: 1. (tie) Parker McCown, on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Amish Burnout, and J.T. Moore, on United Pro Rodeo’s Happy Days, 88.5 points, $2,043 each; 3. Foster McCraw, 86, $1,310; 4.Denton Fugate, 84.5, $848; 5. Matt Palmer, 83, $540; 6. Braden Richardson, 81, $385; 7. Chris Bechthold, 78.5, $308; 8. Brett Custer, 73, $231.


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