Meet the Member Ryan Bestol

by Rodeo News
Cowboys participating in a team roping event at a rodeo.

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 my head I just go out, do it and try to be the best I can at it.” Despite his ranching background, Ryan didn’t see the backside of the rodeo chutes until the summer before his senior year of high school. “I just woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to ride bucking horses,” he said with a fond chuckle at the memory.
He’s the grandson of Gary Powles who’s somewhat of a roughstock event legend in the NSRA. “Everyone who saw him ride back in the day say he was pretty unbelievable. He spurred bareback horses harder than anybody ever thought of doing. At least that’s what I’ve been told.” Ryan spent many hours in the saddle trailing cattle with his grandpa Gary on the family ranch. And perhaps that’s where the seed for saddle bronc riding first took root. Before climbing on his first bronc at the Arthur, Nebraska, rodeo, Ryan did his due diligence at home.
“I called Dave Hebbert and he got me hooked up with a saddle and lined me out on some of the basics. I got on a couple of steers here at the ranch, but I never did try a practice horse before that first rodeo.” Even though he didn’t make eight on that first ride, Ryan was hooked on saddle broncs. He started competing in high school rodeo and the NSRA. That was in 2003. Ryan made the NSRA finals that year and for the next 4 rodeo seasons. “I went to Panhandle State University in Oklahoma in 2005 to rodeo there. I came home each summer to rodeo in the NSRA.” Ryan bought his PRCA permit in 2008 and finally his card in 2010. He then rode as a professional until 2016.
Ryan mounted his last bronc at the 2016 Prairie Circuit finals and hasn’t been on one since. While working for Frontier Rodeo Company, Ryan traded his bronc rein for split reins as a pickup man. In 2018 Ryan was back at the Prairie Circuit finals, but this time as a pickup man. Shortly after that, he moved back to Nebraska and picked up a new rodeo event. “We team rope up here almost every day during the summer. We enter some jackpots around here, but I wanted to learn how to steer rope.” Ryan’s boss, Matt, told him the best way to learn was to rope off a horse with no steer roping experience.
Ryan took his mare, Meg, and started roping steers on her. It didn’t take long to enter their first rodeo. “Steer roping started very similar to my bronc riding career.” That hasn’t held Ryan back as he quickly excels in the event. In 2020 he won the Bill Person Memorial Steer Roping. “That’s the first roping I’ve ever won, and it was neat because I rode broncs, picked up and then won the steer roping there.”
Transitioning from the roughstock chutes to the timed event boxes has put Ryan’s mental game to work more than anything. “Whenever I got on a bucking horse, I was just jacked up and trying to spur as hard as I can. But on the timed event side, I have to take a deep breath and slow things down. Things go wrong when I’m jacked up and anxious.” As one of the few amateur associations that even offers steer roping, the NSRA has always been an avenue for Ryan to grow his rodeo career. “To be honest, riding bucking horses, tripping steers, and picking up, all three give me the same rush. I love all three of them.”

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

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