As a former performing art dancer, American Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) trick riding performer, Shannon Smith, has moved from center stage recital to center stage […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
Sean Wernsman has been competing in the saddle bronc riding for approximately 10 years and is a six-time finals qualifier in the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA). “It’s like a big family. Everyone knows everyone and I get to see and reacquaint with a lot of the same people that I grew up with in Little Britches,” he said of the organization.
Sean was able to qualify for the 2013 finals, but was unable to attend after landing wrong and suffering an injury to his ankle at a Rocky Mountain Bronc Rider Association (RMBRA) event in Hayden, Colo., weeks prior. Despite the fact, he still finished the season 12th in the standings. “The CPRA has expanded to a lot more rodeos, that offer a better chance to go and compete. A lot of the rodeos are getting better added money as well, which gives a great chance to win money,” he included.
The 33-year old cowboy got his start in rodeo through his dad (Neal), who rode broncs in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Senior Pro Rodeo Association. “Dad was my inspiration. I always wanted to ride broncs, just because he did. But I have learned that it is not something that you just go and do and is a learning process,” said Sean. Neal passed the rodeo tradition on to his two boys. Sean’s younger brother (Keith), who no longer competes, rode bulls in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA) and progressed to the College National Finals while riding for the Eastern Wyoming College rodeo team and later qualified for the Mountain States Circuit Finals. Sean first rode bulls in the junior division of the NLBRA. By the senior division, Sean was able to win the Reserve World Champion bull riding title in 1996 and expanded his list of events to add bronc riding. He later joined the Colorado High School Rodeo Association. His talents led him to receiving a rodeo scholarship to Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., where he cut down and just rode bulls.
After college, Sean took a break from rodeo, but got to missing it too bad and joined the CPRA and the Wyoming Rodeo Association (WRA) in 2004, where he has been solely a bronc rider. “Rodeo gets in your blood and is an addiction that is hard to kick. I’ve loved the sport since I was a little kid,” he said of what couldn‘t keep him away. Since then, his list of associations has swollen to the PRCA and the RMBRA, where he was crowned the year-end champion in 2012.
Sean and his wife (Julie) are in the process of moving their family from Craig, Colo., back to his original stomping grounds in Haxtun. Julie has recently joined in with the CPRA and competed in her rookie year as a barrel racer. The couple of five years hopes to hit the road together in future seasons and take their two children (Karli, 8, and Kacey, 4) along with them. “The kids already have the rodeo bug. They both competed in the Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Association summer series, where Karli competed in barrels, poles and flags and Kacey did flags, but he would much rather just be a bronc rider,” said Sean. When he is not rodeoing, Sean drives a truck for a welding supply company that keeps him traveling all around the state, but in his free time likes to hunt. “I like everything from big game [elk, deer and antelope] to birds [pheasant, duck and geese], but my favorite is calling coyotes,” he said.
Sean had hopes of getting a little higher in this year’s standings and going to the finals, but has not set any goals for next season yet. “I want to allow my family to get settled in our new home before I make any decisions or plans,” he said.