Congratulations to the Whatakid of the month, Wyatt Bray! Competing in calf roping and team roping this eighteen-year-old senior cannot be stopped. “I love the challenges of the sport of rodeo. No matter how good you are, you can always get better,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt’s favorite calf horse is named Big Red. “Everyone laughs about his name when they see him because he is only 14 hands tall, but his heart and try is bigger than most big horses,” Wyatt said. “He has a great personality, anyone can ride him, and he works every time.” Big Red has been in the family for a long time as both Wyatt and his brother have
rode him in youth, junior high, high school, and amateur rodeo events. Wyatt loves that, occasionally, Big Red will lay down like a dog so you can scratch his belly.
Growing up in a rodeo family, Wyatt competed in his first rodeo at age seven. “At first I wasn’t extremely competitive. I was just following in my brothers and dads footsteps. I didn’t really get into it until junior high and when that happened rodeo was about all I did,” explained Wyatt.
Wyatt’s favorite rodeo memory would have to be the 2015 USTRC Finals. Wyatt and his partner, Kirby Blankenship,
roped their final steer in 6.3 seconds to move from the 15th hole and become the USTRC Reserve Champions. “I knew we had made a good run so we really put the pressure on everyone else. At first, I thought we were just going to place, but when I found out we were in second I was shocked. It was a big moment in my career,” said Wyatt.
In addition, Wyatt has an extensive number of awards under his belt. He got the Region III sportsmanship award in 2017. His favorite competitions have been the NHSRA state and national finals, USTRC Finals, and the Best of the Best Timed Event Championships. “I am thankful to have been able to qualify for the junior high and high school state finals every year and qualify to both the NJHRA Finals and NHSRA Finals,” Wyatt said.
In fact, Wyatt would count qualifying for the NJHRA and NHSRA Finals his greatest achievement. “Texas is tough. Over 100 athletes compete in each event at the state finals and only four advance to nationals. Qualifying in junior high and high school was a big achievement for me,” Wyatt explained. He went on to add, “winning the Best of the Best team roping title was another goal of mine. My brother won it three years ago and this past summer, Zant Lewis and I were fortunate to win it. Some of the best ropers across the nation compete there so winning that title means a lot to me.”
Alongside rodeo, Wyatt is a member of the varsity basketball team for a homeschool sports program. He loves basketball, but also recognizes that it is really the only high school sport he can fit in since it occurs during winter when the rodeo season slows down. “To be competitive in rodeo events, you can’t have too many outside distractions,” Wyatt explained. However, he helps out with multiple rodeos throughout the year, including two special needs rodeos. “It is humbling to help kids that have no other chance to experience rodeo and be a part of something I love and something I am so fortunate to do every day,” Wyatt said. In his free time, Wyatt enjoys to fish and hunt any type of wild game.
Wyatt also takes his academics very seriously. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the A Honor Roll since the sixth grade. One teacher he really admires is Ms. Irick, who taught him how to read. “When I was in grade school, I really struggled to read and write. She coached me through a difficult time and because of her help, I now love to read,” Wyatt
A quote that has always stuck with Wyatt is a Tim Tebow quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Wyatt explained how his motto came to be: “my mom brought it home and told me to read it. After I did, I adopted it. It helps me a lot when it’s cold outside and I don’t really want to practice. It helps me be better.”
Rickey Green was someone that Wyatt really admired. “When I was little, he would come pick me up and we would rope the dummy and watch westerns. He was a great teacher and he did so much helping people get started in the sport of team roping. Rickey was a great role model. He was a devout Christian and he was not afraid to share his faith with others,” Wyatt said.
In the future, Wyatt plans on pursuing a business degree with a focus on marketing and management. He wants to continue competing in rodeos in college and already has multiple scholarship offers. He has already started competing at some amateur rodeos and his goal for next year is to make UPRA finals. “I plan to rodeo and jackpot during and after college, but I hope my degree will help me be prepared for a good job and career,” Wyatt explained.
Wyatt is extremely honored to be this month’s Whatakid! “It feels amazing. I am really excited and humbled to be chosen and I just want to say thanks. It’s a really cool opportunity and I am glad I get to be part of it."