World Champion Ben Kramer

by Rodeo News

story by Lily Weinacht

Ben Kramer is the 2019 NLBRA World Champion Bareback Rider. The 18-year-old represented his hometown of Denbigh, North Dakota, while competing in his first NLBFR this summer. He qualified within five rodeos at the Northern Plains NLBRA in St. John, North Dakota, before making his first trip to Oklahoma with his parents, Shawn and Melissa Kramer. “It was kind of all out on the table—I was just going to see what horses I drew and let everything sort itself out,” says Ben. “I drew a couple of the nicest horses there probably, and that really helped me out. I made some pretty decent rides on them, and everything just worked out in my favor. I hung around the rodeo grounds quite a bit and saw a lot of good friends from North Dakota.”
Ben and his older brother, Parker—the 2018 NLBRA World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider—are the third generation of their family to ride roughstock. “My dad, my uncles, and my cousin all rode bareback, and my grandpa too,” says Ben. “Rodeo was just something I was interested in since I was a little kid. We got some practice horses and it took off from there.” Ben started riding broncs when he was 16 and joined the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association. He was the NDHSRA state champion bareback rider all three years he rodeoed with them, and competed in the NHSFR each year. He made the short go in 2018 and finished in the top 10 in the nation. Ben also joined the NLBRA in 2018 with his brother. “High school rodeo and the NLBRA has taught me a lot of life experience, and I’ve made a lot of good friends and gotten to know everyone in the rodeo family.”
That rodeo family includes Steve Waagen, owner of Wild Man Rodeo Company, who, along with Ben’s dad, has helped Ben advance his rodeo career. “My dad is always there for some good advice and support, and Steve is the contractor around here, so he has practice pens and puts on rodeos. He brings really good horses, and if you don’t have good horses, it’s really tough to learn.” Ben also rides the bucking machine at his uncle’s home when he needs to practice, and works on the spur board at home. “There’s usually a couple rodeos a weekend, and there’s quite a few places Parker and I will go and ride at together,” says Ben. “I watch videos of my rides. My mom videos every ride that she’s there to watch.”
When they’re not rodeoing, Ben and Parker run the fencing business they started a year ago, building cattle fences around the state. Ben, who was homeschooled and just graduated this spring, also enjoys carpentry and taking on odd jobs. Riding his family’s saddle horses and starting colts occasionally also keeps him busy, but his main focus is furthering his bareback riding career. “I love the excitement and the thrill,” says Ben, who recently started pro rodeoing on his PRCA permit. “I really like the way Orin Larsen rides. I haven’t met him yet, but I’m thinking I’ll run into him at one of these pro rodeos. I’ve been to three pro rodoes so far and I’ve finished in the top three in all of them. It’s very official and everything is a little bit stepped up, so you have to step up too and that’s good for you. Next year I’d like to win the circuit finals.”

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

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