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 Chris Pearson
story by Lindsay Humphrey
After hanging up his ropes from high school rodeo, Chris Pearson spent four years playing football and running track at Doane College. Chris took off his cleats for the last time in 1996 and pulled on his boots. They just so happened to fit like a glove still. “I’ve been riding horses and roping or rodeoing since I was a young kid,” said the Broken Bow, Nebraska, native. “I grew up on a cow calf operation and we used horses pretty much every day to do something or another and rodeo just fell into place for us.” His brother, Wade Pearson, is only three years older than Chris, which means the pair got to rodeo together growing up. The same holds true in adulthood.
“My brother had been roping steers for a couple of years when I got out of college and he got me interested in it.” Hooked ever since, Chris began practicing with his brother and Todd Eberle on a regular basis. The trio are actually responsible for bringing steer roping to a bigger stage in the state of Nebraska. “When I first started steer roping 20 some years ago, there was the Sandhills Steer Roping Association. The last 4-5 years of that association, my brother and I provided cattle for the steer roping.” Once the association dissolved, it was only logical that the NSRA should implement steer roping in their event lineup.
“My brother, Todd, and I were able to introduce steer roping to the NSRA and we were the ones that got it started for them. It’s kind of taken off from there.” Chris served as the NSRA steer roping director for three years. Both Wade and Todd were also the director at one point or another in the past 10 years. When the event was getting off the ground with the NSRA, Chris and Wade provided the cattle for the event. “It takes commitment from your director and your steer roping members to make the event a success. This is Tim’s second year as the director, and he’s done a great job.” The NSRA president also plays a key role in the success or failure of event. “Andy Miller (NSRA president) has been great to work with as far as his flexibility with standalone steer ropings and helping us promote the event.”
The COVID-19 quarantine hasn’t negatively affected steer roping in the NSRA like it has for the regular rodeo events. “Many of our steer roping events don’t get started until the summer months anyways. It looks like we might have a few more standalone steer ropings to make up for the rodeos that have gotten canceled.” These standalone steer ropings are somewhat like a jackpot of any other roping event, except most are sanctioned by the NSRA. It’s a great way to generate more interest in the event by creating more opportunities for competitors to win money towards the year-end averages.
The pandemic has, however, stirred up some dust for Chris’ family. “It was pretty disappointing how things went, especially for my daughters (Emma, 15, and Gracie, 12). We were planning to rodeo pretty heavy this spring between the girls, myself, and my wife (Becky).” Both daughters had high hopes, and the talent, to make it to nationals. “You practice to go compete, so it’s been a little frustrating. But it sure makes you appreciate the rodeos when they do happen. Rodeo doesn’t have to be there; it’s a privilege not a right.” Keeping things in perspective for both himself and his family, Chris hosted one of the first steer roping events of 2020 at his house: the Bill Pearson Memorial Steer Roping. “You have to weigh on the positive side that we are able to have a few, and things are kind of going again.”