Rodeoer takes down steers for fun
Tanner Brunner of Ramona is used to the dust and grime of road life. However, despite the constant movement and a horse as a roommate, Brunner said he wouldn’t give up rodeo life.
“I’ve been rodeoing since I could ride from a very young age and I love it,” Brunner said. “After one steer is down I’m always looking on to the next one.”
His travels have taken him from Kansas to as far as Wyoming. During the summer, he competes from two to four times per week. Thursday he competed in Herington, and while he didn’t do as well as he would have liked, Brunner said competing close to home gives him time to see his family.
“We’re always on the go,” he said. “They travel to see me whenever I compete close by.”
Brunner travels with three to four people and their horses to different rodeos. They also share a living area in a trailer.
“It can be pretty competitive,” Brunner said, “but at the same time we help each other out.”
The supportive competitive lifestyle is one Brunner learned from his parents who both rodeoed.
“My dad used to, but stopped long before I was born,” Brunner said. “My dad is who got me into throwing steers on the ground and taught me how to compete.”
Brunner’s mom still competes in barrel racing, but it was the cattle events that sparked his interest. His favorite event includes wrestling a 300 to 400-pound steer to the ground after jumping from a galloping horse.
“It fits me more because I can use my strength and it’s a more physical and fast event,” he said.
With good times for the event of 3 to 4 seconds, small errors can derail an entire run.
“I have to practice a lot to perfect my technique,” he said. “The trick is to learn how to control the steer, but they don’t always cooperate.”
He also competes in calf and steer roping. Brunner said the best way to do well on the circuit is to constantly practice.
“If it’s dry we’re practicing,” he said. “When I’m home I’m practicing.”
However, there is a fine line between practicing too little and too much.
“You want to keep the horse’s mind fresh and that means mixing up practices,” he said. “I don’t think I would ever get sick of rodeoing, but I can see how people can get burnt out.”
Brunner currently attends Kansas State University where he is majoring in animal science, but after graduation he plans to join a professional rodeo circuit.
“Now I’m only in a minor circuit,” he said, “but I’m not ready to be done.”