The tough get going | TSLN.com

The tough get going

Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns
for Tri-State Livestock News

When a kid sets out to train, learn, and compete in all three roughstock events, one word comes to mind – tough. No doubt folks have had that thought about Neil E. Williams, III of Casper, Wyoming, since he first took to the rodeo trail with the Wyoming Junior Rodeo Association.

His dad, a former bullrider, is probably to blame. Williams recalls his dad watching the sport on television. He also remembers, "A stuffed Mr. T he used to put me on, an' get me bucked off of."

"I started with the bull riding," the recent Casper College grad recalls. "Then I moved to saddle bronc riding, and then bareback." Of the three events, Neil enjoys bull riding most. "I'm probably more consistent in the bareback event, but when I can ride a bull it's really rewarding," the polite young man said.

The young athlete has had excellent mentors and has attended several rodeo schools. He says, "Kelly Timberman's school probably helped me the most. And Bobby Welch taught me to ride bulls, and John Forbes taught me to ride broncs."

Neil worked all three roughstock events through four years of high school, and his first two years of college. As a senior he was the Wyoming High School Rodeo Association's Reserve Champion Bareback rider and placed fourth at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Very involved in the sport of wrestling at the high school level, Neil moved through several weight classes, made state championships all four years, and placed third as a senior, he modestly admits.

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Neil earned a drafting and design degree from Casper. Then he went into general studies. Whenever he decides to slow down in rodeo, he says he hopes to get back in school and obtain an engineering degree.

Neil has excelled within his National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) region to qualify for all four CNFR's. This year he says the best thing was "Makin' it into the short go in both my events."

The Events Center overflowed with fans and enthusiasm roared during the Saturday night performance. Neil's draw in the bareback riding was Frontier Rodeo Company's Crossfire. "He's one of the best horses I've ever been on," Neil said. Unfortunately he joined a couple other competitors who failed to make the 8-second tooter for the round; but now the book is in his head, and he knows Crossfire's tricks. Asked if he'll conquer the horse next time he draws him he grins, "Oh, for sure I will."

That meeting will be a few months away, since Neil plans a sabbatical from rodeo to get his body healed up. "My back's kind'a messed up," he explains, "and I want to get that taken care of before I start down the road seriously. I have a chiropractor who really helps me, and I work with the athletic trainer at Casper College."

Neil's draw for the bull riding to end his final CNFR was Frontier's E5, Big Cat. Unfortunately, the entire pen of bulls that night were incorrigible — not a single one of the twelve short round qualifiers managed to stick with their rope for eight seconds.

Although he's had his Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association permit for a couple years now, Neil has held off opening up his rookie year in the Pro's. "I didn't want to be concentrating on College Rodeo in my rookie year," he explains. When he gets his body in prime condition and starts, it'll be all about prorodeo so his focus will not be interrupted. You can then look for his name in PRCA standings and his spur lick at their rodeos…all the way to the NFR.

After all, along with Neil's training, experience, attitude and try, Pete Tescher is his great grandfather. Across the Northern plains and beyond, the Tescher name is synonymous with rodeo. And good blood always tells, they say.

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