‘Just keep your mind focused’: Riders prepare for ranch bronc riding at ND State Fair

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While many people have their eyes on food or big-name concerts at the State Fair, other big events are hosted by the Northwest Pro Rodeo Association.

We spoke with one of the riders about how he prepares to ride a bucking horse.

8 seconds. That’s how long these riders try to last on either a bull or bucking horse.

Monday and Tuesday night at the fair, riders from all over the country came to put on a show and compete in either bull riding or ranch bronc riding.

One of the ranch bronc riders is Tejay Fenster from Nebraska. He says he prepares to compete by just sticking to the basics.

“A lot of guys think that ranch bronc riding, you just get on and you cling to them but there is definitely a right and wrong way to do it and it takes a little bit of fundamentals to be good at it. So spend a lot of time riding colts at the house and just staying sharp and knowing the feel of a horse helps the most,” said Fenster.

Fenster has been riding since he was little and it was a natural career choice.

And while they all want to win, all the riders, on the day of competition, also remember to stay loose and even poke some fun at each other.

“Get some stretching in. And all the ranch bronc riders, we’re kind of like a big brotherhood so everyone pretty much jokes around and has fun and helps each other outside of their broncs but we keep it light and fun and easy,” said Fenster.

The horse they’ll compete on is unknown until about an hour before competition. Fenster says keeping his adrenaline under control helps getting on a horse — whose goal is to buck you off.

“If you can keep that level of fear under control and keep your heart rate kind of cooled off it’s just a process. Every horse you get on, when you saddle them, to when you get on them right before you nod your head those are all the same steps every single time. Once the shoot gate opens, that’s when it changes. So if you just keep your mind focused on doing the things you can control everything will fall into place,” said Fenster.

Tejay says after this competition, he will head back south for another competition later this week.

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