RODEO: Winding road leads Bowen back to Odessa
Jan 12, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The learning curve got much steeper for Odessa College cowboy Dustin Bowen in 2012.
After a second consecutive trip to the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., Bowen decided to take his show on the road, putting himself on the back of rank broncs and bulls all around the central states.
But the roughstock cowboy from Fredericksburg, Pa., found that life on the road is tough -- and at times tougher than expected.
Without the usual traveling partners, Bowen made his way through the summer trying to find as many rodeos he could afford to compete in before heading back to the Permian Basin for his third season with the Wranglers.
"I didn't know a lot of people," Bowen said. "I was on the road by myself and it got pretty expensive real quick.
"I'd like to have a good year this year, both in college and on the PRCA circuit to get a sponsor to help me out. That's why, right now, I'm concentrating on riding bulls instead of bareback, too."
Bowen kicked off his 2013 season Friday night during the fifth performance of the 80th SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo at Ector County Coliseum.
Climbing aboard a Beutler and Son Rodeo Company bull known simply as 706, Bowen found that this season isn't going to be any easier than his last.
The bull broke left directly out of the chute, snapped his head down and then pulled the rigging rope from Bowen's hand. With no control, Bowen spun around on the top of the bull before being deposited unceremoniously in the dirt.
Bowen, though, won't be disappointed for long.
With his success on the Texas Circuit last summer, he qualified to compete later this month at the Western Stock Show in Denver as well as at a PRCA Extreme Bulls Division II event in Fort Worth.
"Getting into Denver and Fort Worth was really a big deal," Bowen said. "In Denver, you get two head and have a chance to make a nice check if you have a good night.
"In Fort Worth, it's one night and there's a lot of money there too. Good showings there would give me a chance to get into San Antonio and some others down the road."
At the same time, Bowen will be looking for a third trip to the CFNR and a much better showing for the Wranglers.
He was at the CNFR in bull riding in 2011 and competed last year in the all-around competition in bulls and bareback as part of the men's team that qualified for the event.
Bowen still feels he has a score to settle in Casper.
"I really haven't drawn good stock both years," he said. "I'd like to get back there again and get on some good animals to show what I can do."
Bowen has a good chance as the men's team sits second in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Division team standings behind Tarleton State.
The top two teams, along with the top three individuals in each discipline, advance to the CNFR.
Then, it will be back to the road for Bowen -- something he's looking forward to each time he gets on a bronc or bull. This time, however, he'll have some company.
"I met some great people when I was in Colorado last summer and we are going to travel together some this year," Bowen said. "That will help in getting to a few more rodeos and that's what it's all about because this is what I want to do."
Contact Lee Scheide on twitter @OALeeScheide, on Facebook at OA Lee Scheide, or call 432-333-7703.
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