COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Trell Etbauer talks at a deliberate pace as if he’s spinning a yarn from a porch rocking chair. There is humility from the voice of a man who has grown up with rodeo and ranching. His father Robert and uncle Billy are ProRodeo Hall of Fame saddle bronc riders. Etbauer followed that path originally, showing promise, but injuries took him down a different road nearly a decade ago. He is a steer wrestler, and at 37, he aged like Benjamin Button this season.
The respected cowboy won the Sheriff’s PRCA Rodeo in San Bernardino, Calif., posting a 3.4 second time for $2,400 in prize money. It left him with no regrets, but it stung nonetheless, as Etbauer will likely finish 16th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings, coming this close to the first NFR berth of his career.”I guess it was my last rodeo of the year. So, it felt good to go out with a win, to get the job done,” Etbauer said. “I guess it’s really the first year I was actually going to get my count in (by going full time). It was a good year. I can’t complain. It got along pretty good. I could have done better at a few. I have been fighting some injuries the last month and I messed up at some early events and that cost me.”
Etbauer enjoys ranching and farming. But this year, he set his goals higher in competition. As he watched the NFR last year with his daughter Rally she asked why the family wasn’t there. The conversation motivated him.
“I told her we had to qualify. She really wanted to go, so she definitely inspired me,” Etbauer said. “I know what it was like to go there and watch my dad and my uncles (Billy and Dan). I had a lot of good memories there watching them.”
While missing out hurts, it is easy for Etbauer to reconcile. He hurt his neck at Caldwell, Idaho, and then injured his right ankle at Walla, Walla, Wash., leaving him “fighting it” down the stretch. It takes nothing away from his season. He won the Roughrider Days Rodeo in Dickson, N.D., was co-champion at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming and claimed the top prize at the Magic Valley Stampede in Filer, Idaho, earlier this month aboard his trusted horse Corduroy.
A four-time Linderman Award winner Etbauer is a steady personality. He isn’t going to spend too much time dwelling on what might have been.
He is a man who rolls up his sleeves and gets back to work on his ranch in Gruver, Texas.
“We started harvest a day ago. I have to go to work and try to get healed up,” Etbauer said. “Once that happens, I will get to practicing and get back after it.”
Other winners at the $114,548 rodeo were all-around cowboy Stan Branco ($2,603 tie-down roping, steer wrestling and team roping); bareback rider Mason Clements (87.5 points on Bridwell Pro Rodeos’ Black Berry); team ropers Hagen Peterson/Caleb Hendrix (4.7 seconds); saddle bronc rider Jake Clark (84 points on Bridwell Pro Rodeos’ Scarlet Lady); tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa (7.5 seconds); barrel racer Cheyenne Wimberley (15.18 seconds); and bull rider Tristen Hutchings (91 points on Bridwell Pro Rodeos’ Bailey’s Rozet Swag).