Wild horse racing sparks excitement | Cheyenne Frontier Days
The wild horse race is the final event of the day at every Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. But this final event can sometimes be the most entertaining.
The event consists of teams with three individuals and an uninterrupted horse. The three individuals are an aggressor, a shaker and, of course, the horseman. But no job is less important than another.
“Every place has its own challenges,” said Wade Agin, who has been a wild horse racing player for 23 years. “The aggression is more aggressive, there is a certain mentality that comes with the position, and you are much more in the kill zone.”
The main duty of aggression is to control the horse’s head to prevent it from rearing up. The aggressor and the hock work together to control the horse while the hock holds the lead rope to prevent the horse from running away. Agin said the hock was a bit like a seat belt as he tried to hold the assailant close to the horse with the rope.
Billy Sharton – another veteran of the game – has spent his fair share of time assaulting, but has shifted to the responsibility of a man with rod over the past three years. He agreed that when you assault yourself, you are not necessarily safe.
“My first six years, I assaulted, and I found that assault is more difficult just because you’re in the danger zone,” Sharton said. “You are the one making the biggest decision. I got a bunch of kicks as a mugger and only once as a tail man.”
As one can imagine, the blood begins to pump until the horse is released from the fall. The adrenaline that comes from running is almost unmatched.
“Right from the start, there are always butterflies,” Agin said. “They used to start in the morning, right when you wake up, but now you only have 15 minutes left to compete for me… The only way to match the adrenaline – I know that’s not a good thing to say – is to run from the police. “
Sharton confirmed that the thrill is something hard to compare to.
“It’s pretty crazy. You get that feeling that takes over, sometimes you forget to breathe, ”said Sharton. “I’m going to drop my stomach two to three days early and start to get a little nervous and excited about it. But about half an hour before you are good to go, you can feel it all prickle over you, and when you open the chute, a calm sets in, and you know that’s what you came for.
Agin found himself more often than not on the good side of success. The 41-year-old has been part of teams – including his brother – that won world titles in 2005, 2007 and 2012-16. He also earned bragging rights at “Daddy of ’em All” in 2000, 2002 and 2017.
Competition runs in his blood, his father and uncles having founded the Wild Horse Racing Association in the early 1970s. Horses are a little less wild than they were 50 years ago, but that doesn’t take away nothing of the gratifying feeling that overwhelms someone when they successfully complete a course.
“When you assault a horse for the first time, you feel untouchable,” Sharton said. “It’s so crazy, the feeling you get, because the horse is so much bigger and stronger than you.
“When you can stop an animal of this size, you feel amazing, you feel bulletproof.”