Meet the Member Mark Bowers

by Rodeo News

story by Ruth Nicolaus

Mark Bowers has a most unlikely rodeo story.
The Colorado Pro Rodeo Association member has never competed in rodeo.
But he’s always been interested in it.
Growing up in Oklahoma, he and his family attended rodeos. But his heart was in basketball in part because of his dad, a college basketball coach.
When his son Chase was little, they would watch rodeo on TV together, Chase on the arm of the couch, riding a “bull,” watching the PBR, and throwing himself on the ground as he got “bucked off.” “He drove us crazy, wanting to rodeo,” Mark remembers.
So Mark borrowed the equipment from a friend and took Chase to a Little Britches Rodeo. And it grew from there.
By the time his Little Britches career was over, Chase had competed in the team roping, flag race, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and bull riding.
And Mark had found his newest passion.
While his son competed, Mark worked the stripping chute or helped pull gates. People suggested that he learn to judge, so he attended a Little Britches judging seminar. “I thought, ok, I’ll give this a shot,” Mark said. “I’ll either be run out of town or be OK.”
And he was OK. He judged the Little Britches Rodeos for the Rocky Mountain Association for several years, doing 30 to 40 rodeos a year.
Then Jack Roe suggested Mark judge CPRA rodeos. He said no, but after two years of badgering, Mark agreed.
After attending judging seminars, he is a CPRA judge and the judging coordinator.
One of his strengths, he believes, is that he’s a student of the sport. He’s soaked in the knowledge and watched every event. “I was about every single thing there was,” he said.
As judging coordinator, he is responsible for putting on the annual seminar and scheduling judges for each rodeo.
His favorite part is paying close attention to the rodeo. “You have to watch,” he said. “You’re there in the action, but not actually competing. It allows you to have a first-hand, front row seat, and you have to pay attention and watch everything.”
He also hears from disgruntled contestants, and Mark has a way of handling them. He served 21 years in the Navy as a weapons technician, and he values respect. “I respect the contestants and their opinions and views, but I ask that they respect me.” There are avenues for handling disagreements, Mark says. “There are protocols in place and I don’t have a problem enforcing them.”
In 2004 Mark retired from the Navy and lives in Peyton, Colorado. He is a social studies teacher at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs and an assistant basketball coach at Pine Creek High School.
There are many similarities between the Navy, rodeo, basketball, and teaching school, and the common thread is dealing with people, Mark said. “If you can’t deal with the people who work with you, you’re going to struggle through life.” As a Navy recruiter, he oversaw 35 recruiters and knew the best way to approach each personality. “You need to know how to read people. Every person and kid is different. There are different things that push their buttons, and there are things that don’t.”
He tells his judges that they need to have thick skin, and they also need to be able to admit errors. “Sometimes you have to be able to admit you made a mistake, and some mistakes can’t be reversed.”
Rodeo has many moving parts, and judges have to be on top of them all, Mark said. “All these pieces and parts that go into a rodeo are things the judges are responsible for.”
In addition to Chase, who competed collegiately for Southeastern Oklahoma State and Sam Houston University, he has two daughters. Jessica lives in Elkhorn, Neb. and Brittin lives in Colorado Springs. He also has three grandkids: boys Abram and Austin, and granddaughter Alijah.

                © Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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