October 5, 2011

Cowboy heads to nationals -- as rider, not spectator

Brian Bain, bareback rider
Gary G. Newman
Spokesman staff
Brian Bain has only missed a couple of National Finals Rodeos in the past 21 years, but when he goes to the NFR this winter he’ll be getting a different perspective on the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
This year his seat will be center stage – and bucking.
The 29-year-old Culver bareback rider will be riding in the NFR for the first time after qualifying fifth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association bareback standings with $90,027 in earnings.
“Any cowboy, your dream is to make it to the Finals,” he said. “I don’t know any cowboy out there that hasn’t had that dream.”
Bain admits that he will likely have some butterflies going into the first round Dec. 1, but after that it will be the same horses and the same cowboys he’s competed with all season.
“It’s no different than any other rodeo – besides the money and the atmosphere,” he said. “I like big crowds and I like the bright lights; I feel confident and I think it’s going to help.”
Bain took up bareback riding at age 22, late compared to many on the rodeo circuit.
In high school the skinny 6-foot, 135-pound teenager was a roper. His father, stock contractor Buster Bain, discouraged him from the rough stock events, but a few years later a roommate, bareback rider Mason Stafford, convinced him to give it a try.
Bain caught on fast and joined the PRCA in 2007. Growing up around rough stock helped. The Bains provide bucking horses to several rodeos in the Northwest, and his mother, Deanne Bain, is a rodeo secretary for the family business. Steeped in the traditions and skills that go with the sport, Bain plans to stay in the business after he’s through riding.
“It helped me a lot,” he said. “I’ve seen bareback riding my whole life.”
Bain has had success before this year. He split the championship with Royce Ford at the Deschtues County Fair Bareback Shootout in 2007 against other top bareback riders, and in 2008 he won it outright. He travels with Ford, Micky Downare and Lee Lance.
Last year was something of a rebuilding year for Bain, who broke his neck at the Houston Rodeo early in the year. He worked his way back, going to about 20 rodeos during 2010. He finished the season 45th, but got his health back.
“I did really well at the ones I went to and got to where I was feeling good again,” said Bain. “I was healthy and for the most part this year I was healthy.”
His 2011 season took off in July at the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho. He posted an 83 in the first performance and then returned to score an 88 in the finals to take the championship. In all he won $11,000.
“I think that’s what started the ball rolling, where it made it a little more real,” said Bain.
He rode in 80 rodeos this year and scored a paycheck a little more often than he has in the past.
“I felt like the same Bain that’s been riding, maybe I got a little more consistent,” he said. “It just finally started clicking all the time instead of failing every eighth horse.”
Bain enjoys hunting deer and elk and fishing for steelhead and salmon when he’s away from the arena. He also enjoys playing golf.
But rodeo is his main game.
“I love bucking horses more than anything in the world,” he said. “When I’m done riding them, I’m going to raise them.”
Some horses are born to buck just like some horses are bred for reining or roping, he added.
“When you find a horse that truly loves to buck, it’s fun to watch them,” he said. “They’re bred to do it. You can’t just go get a wild horse.”
This year he’ll get the chance to ride that beauty and fury on the biggest stage of all.

Central Oregon riders head to Nationals
The National Finals Rodeo will have a number of Central Oregonians competing when it starts Dec. 1 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Four local bareback riders have qualified, including Brian Bain in fifth, Steven Peebles of Redmond, seventh with $79,629, Jason Havens of Prineville, eighth with   $79,174 and Bobby Mote, ninth with $74,999 in earnings.
Mote is recovering from rodeo-related injuries and is expected to be ready to rodeo in December.
Brenda Mays of Terrebonne continues her run at the top of the barrel racing circuit, qualifying in fourth place with $87,961 in earnings.
Brandon Beers of Powell Butte has qualified in 10th place as a team roping header with $74,666 in earnings.
Steer wrestler Shawn Greenfield of Lakeview qualified in fifth place with $79,622 in earnings and Trevor Knowles of Mt. Vernon qualified seventh with $69,731.
The National Finals Rodeo begins its 10-day run Dec. 1. The top 15 competitors in each event qualify.

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