More than one hat |

More than one hat

Savanna Simmons
for Tri-State Livestock News
Bareback riding legend Marvin Garrett looks forward to helping college kids learn about riding, spurring and their future careers. Courtesy photo

Four-time Bareback Bronc World Champion Marvin Garrett is putting on his coaching hat for the Gillette College Rodeo Team in Gillette, Wyoming.

The Belle Fourche, South Dakota, native moved to Rozet, Wyoming, in 2015, making coaching at the nearby college a perfect fit.

“I saw [Garrett] this summer where I was picking up at a ranch rodeo in Gillette. Marvin was there judging,” said Will LaDuke, Gillette College Rodeo Team Head Coach. “Someone had told me he moved to the Rozet area and I thought he would be a great guy to be around college kids. Everyone I talked to thought it was a no brainer.”

“When I quit rodeoing, I got a job in a Gillette coal mine and was driving back and forth,” said Garrett, who was then living in Belle Fourche. ‘We raise bucking horses, so I was working and driving back and doing chores; it was getting pretty monotonous, so we opted to buy a place in Gillette. We are only 20 minutes from work and still have bucking horses.”

Garrett, the rough stock coach, joined LaDuke, who has more experience in timed events, last month. Garrett’s first focus will be in recruiting high school seniors to Gillette College to join the two rough stock event cowboys currently on the team.

“This semester, Marvin will be recruiting six to eight quality rough stock student athletes for next fall’s team,” LaDuke said. “Right now we only have two rough stock kids. In general, rough stock kids are getting a little harder to come by and someone with Marvin’s name recognition, plus the fact that he’s done a lot of bareback schools, will help bring students to our school.”

Garrett is ready for his task.

“I’m awfully excited about this first year and recruiting for the team,” Garrett said. “I’ve got a few sit downs coming up. I’m looking forward to getting started on a team.

Garrett hopes to develop life skills and offer guidance to the college students, in addition to nurturing rodeo talents, he said.

“I’m looking forward, most of all, to teaching kids what they want to do in life, whether it’s rodeo for a career, welding, teacher, or doctor,” Garrett said. “We’ll open a book for them for the rest of their lives and help guide them in the right direction.”

The National Finals Rodeo two-time average winner is no stranger to injury and setback; Garrett broke his leg in 1985, his second year rodeoing professionally, shattering his top-ten standing and his chance to qualify for National Finals Rodeo. He plans to use his experiences to evolve the youth with whom he’ll work.

“When I rodeoed, I experienced the hurdles that can slow you down and take away your dreams,” Garrett said. “I can help them with that and eliminate some hurdles for them. We’ll hopefully get rid of some of those hurdles that are real devastating and use the others to advance them and learn something.”

Garrett has an eye out for rodeo athletes who set goals.

“Kids that are goal-oriented are kind of a big deal to me,” Garrett said. “It’s neat to share your experiences and techniques, and watch kids develop them and add to them and achieve goals they’ve set for themselves.”

Teaching is not foreign to Garrett, but he is eager to spend more than three days with students, unlike during his schools.

“I’ve taught kids all my career. I’ve had the opportunity to put on three-day schools,” Garrett said. “We would go through all the mental- and muscle-mechanics and basics and then three days is done, and the kids go. The neat thing about [teaching at the college] is I’ll have a lot more time to spend with these kids to help them along and be a little bit more part of their lives.”

In addition to a new rough stock coach, Gillette College is also adding an indoor arena this year.

“We’ve been working on a indoor forever it seems like,” LaDuke said. “It’s finally coming to be. It will be for college-use only and is scheduled to be done late next fall.”

LaDuke is ready for his team to call the new facilities “home”, he said.

“With that facility, the kids will be able to have a spot to keep horses,” he said. “Right now, we travel to practice and rent different facilities. It will be a home for once, something we certainly needed.”

As for Garrett, LaDuke is happy to have him join the team, he said.

“I didn’t just hire Marvin because he’s a World Champion Hall-of-Famer,” he said. “He’s a good person and will bring some of the better athletes to our college. I’m very excited about having Marvin.”

Garrett was Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rookie of the Year in 1984, won the PRCA Bareback Bronc World Champion Title in 1988, 1989, 1994, and 1995. He won the NFR Bareback averages in 1989 and 1995.