Catch Shane Proctor on any given day, and he probably won’t be there the next.
Well, not unless his van breaks down, like it did in Sheridan, Wyoming, this week. And even then, he’ll probably rent a car to get to the next town, like he did to get to Colorado Springs the next day, because the 34-year-old cowboy has broncs to ride and money to earn.
Such is the life of a rodeo athlete.
“A lot of people see the 8 seconds in the rodeo, but they don’t see the hours we put in getting somewhere,” Proctor said.
This week’s schedule ends Sunday in Eastern Washington, where, for the first time in a decade, the Grand Coulee native will compete at the Cheney Rodeo. Proctor is one of 10 men listed on the Sunday day sheet for Saddle Bronc Riding, along with his current traveling partners Joe and Sam Harper.
But before he gets to Cheney, he will have had quite the week of crisscrossing the western United States.
Tuesday he was supposed to be in Estes Park, Colorado, but since his 2008 Dodge Sprinter van broke down he stayed in Sheridan. Wednesday, in a rental car, he made it to the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Thursday night he was back in Sheridan, hoping his van would be fixed and ready to go. Friday he plans to hustle back down to Vernal, Utah, before continuing to Elko, Nevada, for Saturday night’s Silver State Stampede.
And then, he plans to be around for the rodeo on Sunday afternoon in Cheney.
That’s about 2,500 miles of driving in five days, a not unusual pace that helps him put about 80,000 miles on his vehicle each year.
“I love traveling, meeting new people,” Proctor said. “I travel a lot. I go up and down the road, and being able to make a good living doing it has been a big part of it.”
Proctor graduated from Lake Roosevelt High School in 2003, attended Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, for two years and then completed a year at Montana State University. He worked other jobs and competed in rodeos for a few years after that.
But in 2011 he won a world championship as a bull rider, establishing a reputation that kept him in the event for seven more years. In his career, he has earned more than $1.2 million.
Early in 2018 he decided to focus more on saddle bronc riding and go for an all-around title, a pursuit that was derailed by a groin injury that kept him out of competition for three months last summer.
“I always wanted to be an all-around cowboy, and 34’s an old bull rider,” he said. “I wanted to make my mark.”
Proctor makes his home in Oklahoma, so he is technically part of the Prairie circuit, one of 13 circuits in the PRCA. While money earned at any PRCA rodeo in the country counts toward his all-around money total – the measure by which he can qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – he needs to compete in enough circuit rodeos to qualify for the circuit finals.
That is a big reason why he hasn’t been back to the Cheney rodeo in 10 years.
Still, Proctor competes some in the Columbia River circuit, and he has returned to Grand Coulee the last 11 years to hold a bull riding school every April. He said he hopes that program grows bull riding in the Northwest.
Proctor is currently ranked fourth in Saddle Bronc in the Prairie circuit, which takes the top 12 in each event to the circuit finals in October. He hasn’t ridden many bulls this summer due to a wrist injury that he said makes his hand numb when he rides them.
His family attends his rodeos when they can. They were in Eugene to watch him compete earlier this year, a distance that makes the drive from Grand Coulee to Cheney almost nothing.
After this weekend, Proctor will hit the road again. There are broncs to ride every day in the summer, if only someone is willing to get there.
“It’s a new challenge every day,” Proctor said. “It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday in this sport. It’s only what you do today.”
Other area athletes scheduled to compete this weekend include (with hometown and event):
Travis Eller (Colville, Tie-Down Roping), Tate Owens (Colbert, Saddle Bronc Riding), Jed McKinlay (Colbert, Bareback Riding), Guy Smith (Lewiston, Steer Wrestling), Justin Resseman (Colbert, Steer Wrestling), Shane Bullock (Spokane, Steer Wrestling), Hayden Winn (Spokane, Steer Wrestling), Dillon Holyfield (Lewiston, Team Roping), Justin Marcus (Spokane, Team Roping), Madison Brown (Colbert, Breakaway Roping), Wyatt Covington (Cheney, Bull Riding), Austin Krogh (Newport, Washington, Saddle Bronc Riding), Shane Proctor (Grand Coulee, Saddle Bronc Riding), Jacob Paul (Post Falls, Tie-Down Roping).
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