Meet the Member Winsten McGraw

by Rodeo News

story by Lily Weinacht

“When I started rodeoing, I craved it. I love it—I’m addicted to it, and when I go around the country rodeoing and see how I compete with other people, that’s what drives me the very most to be the best that I can be,” says Winsten McGraw. “The people behind me along the way always motivate me—my friends, family, and mentors—and I want to make them proud.” A highlight for the 18-year-old from Gill, Colorado, came this summer when he won 2018 WHSRA Steer Wrestling Champion, his first state title. “Being a state champion has always been my goal. It was a tight race all year, and then at state I had a really good first run and it shot me above everyone else. I worked really hard to be where I was at, and I had a lot of confidence from what Jason Lahr has taught me, and my horse gives me a ton of confidence.”
Winsten, who started rodeoing in eighth grade, knew he wanted to compete after going to watch the WNFR one year. His dad, Jarrett McGraw, rodeoed for Kansas in high school and college rodeoed with professional steer wrestler Jason Lahr. When Winsten started steer wrestling several years ago, he and his dad loaded up and hauled to Stephenville, Texas, to work with Jason. “Jason has made it to the NFR seven or eight times, and he’s helped me with the horses I have today, and he’s found the best people to practice with all over the country. Jason, Ote Berry, Beau Clark, Clay Logan, and Walt Woodard have helped me out a lot.”
While Winsten also competes in tie-down roping and team roping as a heeler with Lane Anderson, steer wrestling is a firm favorite. “I love it all, but I’ve worked extremely hard in that event, and the people who have helped me along the way are my mentors and heroes,” says Winsten, who is leading the WHSRA standings. “So far the season has gone good. I think I can always get better and finish stronger in the spring.” He also enters the Best of Best Timed Event Rodeo every summer, along with the IFYR, and he’s sitting high in the standings of the Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling World Championships.
For the last three years, Winsten has backed into the box on Mr. Bigs, who started out as a head horse. “We sent him to Jason, and he started jumping steers on him. He was a natural, and he’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse. Blake Knowles rode him at the PRCA rodeo in Pueblo, Colorado, and a few guys have at The American qualifiers.” On the other side of the steer is Winsten’s dad, who hazes for him at nearly every event astride Colonel Sanders. “We have one of the best hazing horses in the country—he came from Dan Cathcart and they have hazed on him at Cheyenne and Pendleton to name a few—and I can trust my dad no matter what. My mom, Rachelle, is my biggest supporter in the stands, and she videos for me.” Winsten also rides Tex and Doc in team roping and tie-down roping, and gets out of school early twice a week to practice with Beau Clark, the rodeo coach at University of Wyoming. “That’s definitely been a game changer for me. Beau has outstanding steers, and he knows bulldogging from head to toe.”
Winsten plans to college rodeo and pursue a business degree after he graduates from Eaton High School. He takes just enough time off from the horses to enjoy snowboarding in the winter, or duck hunting with his older brother. He also works out and lifts weights, and though he used to play football, basketball, and wrestle, he chose to focus solely on rodeo. “Every once in a while I kind of miss it, but nothing compares to rodeoing. My short-term goals right now are to win the Ote Berry Championships and go to the Junior NFR, and to be a state and National High School champion.”

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

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