Jeremy Melancon wins saddle bronc event at 2011 Louisiana State Fair Pro Rodeo | TSLN.com

Jeremy Melancon wins saddle bronc event at 2011 Louisiana State Fair Pro Rodeo

SHREVEPORT, LA – Saddle bronc rider Jeremy Melancon backed up his black 1993 ambulance to the loading dock at Hirsch Coliseum and hauled off the biggest win of his professional rodeo career.

Melancon put an 88-point ride on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex – the highest-scored ride of his career – to win the Nov. 4-5 State Fair of Louisiana Pro Rodeo and a check for $1,082.

Yes, it was that Big Tex – the one that was named PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year in 2010, tied for third in this year’s bareback voting and holds shares of the bareback riding world record and the Wrangler NFR arena record.

That one.

“We heard that Big Tex might be showing up in the saddle bronc event awhile before we got there, and we were all hoping that we’d see him beside our name,” Melancon said. “Drawing Big Tex is a dream come true. To tell you the truth, I was kind of ducking the bareback riders, not making eye contact, because I know they were hoping they’d have a chance to ride him.

“He’s a great, great horse. He was maybe even a little more than I expected. I got into a little trouble early, but once I got settled it was real good. He’s everything you’d want in a bucking horse. Confidence is the biggest deal, and to win a good rodeo – on that horse – this early in the season is just a huge boost.”

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It was all the more gratifying because the win came against a field that included Cody DeMoss, Heith DeMoss, Bradley Harter, Sam Spreadborough and Jacobs Crawley – all qualifiers for next month’s Wrangler NFR – plus 2011 PRCA/Resistol Rookie of the Year Sterling Crawley.

Melancon, a member of the national champion Sam Houston State University team, became good friends with the Crawley brothers while competing in college rodeos the past couple of years. They started traveling to ProRodeos as permit holders and have ambitious plans for 2012.

“We’re just going to load the ambulance up again and go hard all year,” Melancon said.

Ah, yes, the ambulance. At some point, Melancon and the Crawleys began to feel that the camper they had on the back of their truck wasn’t really doing the job and started talking about possible solutions.

It was Melancon who first floated the idea of a used ambulance (“they thought I was crazy at first”) because of its roominess and who followed through on searching for the thing.

“I learned that the ambulances in Texas tend to get used for a long time; they’re hard to get,” Melancon said. “An EMT told me to try the Northeast, and I located one in Pennsylvania pretty quickly. We bought it sight unseen.

“It was a 26-hour trip to get it back to Texas, and then we had the interior completely redone to turn it into living quarters. We had it painted all black and hit the road. It had 80,000 miles on it when we got it about this time last year, and we put another 30,000 on the odometer by the end of the season.”

As might be imagined, there are not a lot of ominous looking black ambulances on the road, and the bronc riders have drawn their share of unsolicited comments wherever it goes.

“Some guys want to know if it’s a SWAT vehicle,” Melancon said. “Most everybody seems to agree that it’s better to arrive at a rodeo in an ambulance than to be hauled away in one. That’s kind of our philosophy.”

Melancon wasn’t the only roughstock rider to benefit from hooking up with one of Classic Pro Rodeo’s Wrangler NFR-bound horses.

Richie Champion scored 89 points on Good Time Charlie to win the bareback riding title by one point over Winn Ratliff, proving on this day at least, that it takes more than one Winn to beat a Champion.

The other champions at Hirsch Coliseum were steer wrestler Cale Emmett (4.0 seconds), team ropers Tyler Wade and Tyler Barton (3.9 seconds), tie-down roper Blake Huckabee (7.4 seconds), bull rider Trent Cormier (90 points) and barrel racer Brittany Grant (14.18 seconds).

SHREVEPORT, LA – Saddle bronc rider Jeremy Melancon backed up his black 1993 ambulance to the loading dock at Hirsch Coliseum and hauled off the biggest win of his professional rodeo career.

Melancon put an 88-point ride on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex – the highest-scored ride of his career – to win the Nov. 4-5 State Fair of Louisiana Pro Rodeo and a check for $1,082.

Yes, it was that Big Tex – the one that was named PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year in 2010, tied for third in this year’s bareback voting and holds shares of the bareback riding world record and the Wrangler NFR arena record.

That one.

“We heard that Big Tex might be showing up in the saddle bronc event awhile before we got there, and we were all hoping that we’d see him beside our name,” Melancon said. “Drawing Big Tex is a dream come true. To tell you the truth, I was kind of ducking the bareback riders, not making eye contact, because I know they were hoping they’d have a chance to ride him.

“He’s a great, great horse. He was maybe even a little more than I expected. I got into a little trouble early, but once I got settled it was real good. He’s everything you’d want in a bucking horse. Confidence is the biggest deal, and to win a good rodeo – on that horse – this early in the season is just a huge boost.”

It was all the more gratifying because the win came against a field that included Cody DeMoss, Heith DeMoss, Bradley Harter, Sam Spreadborough and Jacobs Crawley – all qualifiers for next month’s Wrangler NFR – plus 2011 PRCA/Resistol Rookie of the Year Sterling Crawley.

Melancon, a member of the national champion Sam Houston State University team, became good friends with the Crawley brothers while competing in college rodeos the past couple of years. They started traveling to ProRodeos as permit holders and have ambitious plans for 2012.

“We’re just going to load the ambulance up again and go hard all year,” Melancon said.

Ah, yes, the ambulance. At some point, Melancon and the Crawleys began to feel that the camper they had on the back of their truck wasn’t really doing the job and started talking about possible solutions.

It was Melancon who first floated the idea of a used ambulance (“they thought I was crazy at first”) because of its roominess and who followed through on searching for the thing.

“I learned that the ambulances in Texas tend to get used for a long time; they’re hard to get,” Melancon said. “An EMT told me to try the Northeast, and I located one in Pennsylvania pretty quickly. We bought it sight unseen.

“It was a 26-hour trip to get it back to Texas, and then we had the interior completely redone to turn it into living quarters. We had it painted all black and hit the road. It had 80,000 miles on it when we got it about this time last year, and we put another 30,000 on the odometer by the end of the season.”

As might be imagined, there are not a lot of ominous looking black ambulances on the road, and the bronc riders have drawn their share of unsolicited comments wherever it goes.

“Some guys want to know if it’s a SWAT vehicle,” Melancon said. “Most everybody seems to agree that it’s better to arrive at a rodeo in an ambulance than to be hauled away in one. That’s kind of our philosophy.”

Melancon wasn’t the only roughstock rider to benefit from hooking up with one of Classic Pro Rodeo’s Wrangler NFR-bound horses.

Richie Champion scored 89 points on Good Time Charlie to win the bareback riding title by one point over Winn Ratliff, proving on this day at least, that it takes more than one Winn to beat a Champion.

The other champions at Hirsch Coliseum were steer wrestler Cale Emmett (4.0 seconds), team ropers Tyler Wade and Tyler Barton (3.9 seconds), tie-down roper Blake Huckabee (7.4 seconds), bull rider Trent Cormier (90 points) and barrel racer Brittany Grant (14.18 seconds).

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