story by Lindsay Humphrey “I’m not much of a planner,” said Ryan Bestol of his storied rodeo career so far. “When I get something in […]
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Meet the Member Brody Cleveland
story by Lindsay King
As a University of Nebraska–Lincoln freshman, Brody Cleveland traded in his boots and hat for cleats and a helmet. Brody was a walk-on recruit for the Huskers and played linebacker his first two years in Lincoln. “Playing college football was an awesome experience, but after two years I was kind of burnt out on it. I didn’t see a future for myself in the sport after college, so I decided to go back to doing something I really liked,” said the Ogallala, Nebraska, native. This decision took Brody back to one of his first loves: steer wrestling. The son of Paul Cleveland meant steer wrestling would be entwined with his DNA and Brody certainly never minded that fact.
“I was one of the last kids in my family to show any interest in rodeo. When I was little, I was kind of scared of horses to be honest. My siblings were both riding around by themselves long before I was.” Despite his lack of enthusiasm for horses, Brody got an early start as a bull dogger while watching his dad and a handful of other NFR qualifiers host clinics year after year. “I’ve gotten some really neat opportunities to learn from some of the best in the business.” The combination of football, wrestling and rodeo set Brody up to be a thrill seeker of all sorts. “Steer wrestling is what I grew up around and I got to be around all the guys that I looked up to. That made it easy to become my favorite event.”
High school football and wrestling cut into Brody’s time in the practice arena, but before his junior year of college he quite literally got back in the saddle. “I started roping and I still wasn’t sure if I was going to play football that fall or steer wrestle.” That didn’t stop Brody from making the finals for the NSRA, M-SRA and KPRA the last two years. Filling his permit in just “a handful of rodeos,” Brody wants to make a run at the Prairie Circuit soon. Of course this state champion high school wrestler simply returned home when he started grabbing horns again. He was the reserve champion high school steer wrestler as a junior.
“There is so much more luck involved in rodeo and steer wrestling. You have two horses, a steer and another person, and everything has to line up perfectly.” Every rodeo competitor knows that’s not always the case. “Not every steer is going to be the same in how they run or throw, it’s a lot of the luck of the draw. In most sports you usually win first when you’re the best player, but that’s not really the case in rodeo.” Rodeo and football are eerily similar. The mental strength it takes to get out of a dry spell; an athletic stance, work ethic, you name it and Brody’s exhibited the state on all different kinds of turf.
This recent graduate of UNL, is now putting his business and marketing degree to use for FuturesOne. “I’m in a funny time in life right now because I am just starting my career and also trying to figure out my goals for rodeo.” Enjoying his job as a salesman for a commodities and marketing advisory group doesn’t make it easy for Brody to set out on the rodeo trail full time. “I am just trying to find the balance of where everything fits together.” Luckily, he harbors a fairly flexible schedule so he can keep chipping away at both his goals on the amateur and professional circuit. As Brody continues to follow in his dad’s footsteps in the family sport, he also hopes to replicate some of his success along the way. “My dad won the bull dogging in the NSRA at some point in his career and I think that is a good goal to have for myself also. Winning this amateur association would certainly be a cool notch to have in my belt.”