Rodeo cowboy Nathan Urie doesn’t let much get in his way of success
It is hard to be a rodeo cowboy. It is tough to ride rough stock. It is even tougher when you only have one arm.
I had the chance to watch Nathan Urie at the Icebreaker Rodeo in Ogden, Utah last month. He competed in saddle bronc riding and team roping during the three day rodeo. Urie took home the third place buckle in the saddle bronc riding.
I’m Nathan Urie from Emery County. Ferron, Utah specifically. I am 18 and I am a senior.
Tell me about your missing arm.
I was born without it, so I never knew what it was like to have an arm.
Do you get a lot of questions about it?
Occasionally, a lot of times people just look at me.
How do you feel when people ask you about it?
It’s fine. I am fine with people asking. It’s probably better if they do.
When did you start rodeoing?
When I was a sophomore I started riding saddle bronc horses.
What made you decide to rodeo?
I always wanted to be a cowboy I guess.
Do you think you have made it?
(laughs) I don’t know, maybe.
Who has helped you learn?
I have had a lot of coaches. I have been to some schools. Kurt Christiansen has helped me out a lot to get started out. Basically I got bucked off horses for two years straight. Finally I started picking it up, so it’s getting better all the time.
What keeps you going?
Adrenaline. (laughs) I don’t know…I love it; it’s a good time always.
What do you have to do because you only have one arm?
In Bronc riding it’s easy because you can only use one hand, so that’s easy. But in team roping they let me tie hard and fast to my saddle, which basically means I don’t have to dally, so then I can team rope with one arm. That’s a little different. Maybe a little harder, but I don’t know…It doesn’t really affect me in bronc riding because you can only use one arm anyways.
Does your mom ever worry about you getting hurt?
Yeah, it took me six months to get her to let me ride broncs. She wouldn’t let me at first so; I asked her if I could ride bulls. Then she was like, “Yes, you can ride broncs.” (laughs) I never really wanted to ride bulls, I just wanted her to let me ride broncs.
What happened today?
I took third place in the saddle bronc riding.
How does that feel?
It was good. It was fun. It was kind of a rough horse, but that’s alright, I stayed on.
What are your plans for the future?
I am probably going to college at Utah State. I think I’ll probably go into Ag Education, but I am not sure yet. I’ll try and get on and rodeo somewhere. I’ll probably talk to the Utah State Rodeo club. It should be fun.
It’s not easy only having one arm. How do you handle your challenges?
Most days I just walk in like you would with two arms. It’s just natural I guess. I never had it to lose so it would be weird to have two arms for me. But, there are some things I have a rough time with that I just need a little hand here and there. But I can mostly get it done.
It has never been an excuse?
No, that is just not how I roll. I just go out and do whatever I want to do. We figure out a way that I can do it.
Ellie Dalton is a contributor to Cavvy Savvy, a blog about working horses that is a partner to Tri-State Livestock News. Read more at http://www.cavvysavvy.com.
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