Meet the Member Shane Thurston

by Rodeo News

story by Hannah Crandall

Now a rodeo judge from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, Shane Thurston has been going to rodeos since he was two-years-old. Shane’s father, Robert Thurston who was a team roper and calf roper, instilled his passion for the western lifestyle in Shane from a very young age. Shane grew up in Aztec, New Mexico riding calves, steers and bulls, as well as roping. “I roped all the way up to high school, and then I found out I wanted to be a bull rider.”
In 1983, Shane made the National High School Finals Rodeo in bull riding. After graduating high school, Shane began rodeoing hard, breaking and training horses on the side when he was home. In 1987, Shane had a really great year that kick-started his rodeo career. At the beginning of that year to make enough money to continue getting down the road, he was the first bull rider out and would then take his spurs off to fight bulls. He won the Casper Baka bull riding series, the New Mexico Rodeo Association and his first amateur world championship. “That was an amazing year. It kicked off so much for me.”
Some of Shane’s most notable accomplishments include winning the New Mexico Rodeo Association three times, the Southwest Rodeo Association twice, the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association once and the North American Rodeo Commission twice, making him a two-time world champion at the amateur level. Shane also made the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit finals and the Bull Riders Only finals, an event at which he ended up second in the world in 1997. Shane has had the opportunity to travel to both Australia and Brazile through bull riding, also. In 1999, Shane retired from riding bulls. “It was funny how when I was riding, I never thought it would end; but it does.”
It surprises people who rodeoed with Shane how cool, calm and collected he is now, because he was always going and helping everyone. “I was just so happy to be there. So now when I go judge, I don’t have to do too much but stand there and give points away.”
Shane judges for the New Mexico Rodeo Association, as well as bull team challenges and American Bucking Bull Incorporated events. One of Shane’s favorite rodeos he has judged was in Luna, New Mexico two years ago down in a little bowl with no buildings in sight. “Everyone had their picnic baskets lined up along the fence, and it was like old times for me again. That was really neat. I’m just waiting for the rodeo world to start kicking again and get back to it.”
Shane is a carpenter and has two ranches. He tends to horses and cattle a few days a week on one, and the second is in the mountains where he runs cattle during the summer and processes trees the rest of the time. Shane has one 26-year-old daughter named Dallas who works in the restaurant industry, as well as one stepson named Jake who became a very good bullfighter.
Shane’s biggest supporter is his mom, Polly, and he plans to stay near his parents for a while. However, he would like to gather more horses and cattle, continue to break and train horses and maybe visit Australia again where he still has good friends. “I’ve had a pretty good life, and I have been blessed. But, I’m not done living. I still have a lot of adventures left.”
Shane has been involved in rodeo his entire life, and he is still very passionate about the sport today. “I like giving back and helping kids now. I try to be honest in my judging, and I understand what it takes to go down the road.”

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

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