Native Village 
Youth and Education News

January 1, 2013

Tom Reeves: Living the Rodeo Dream
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/
Condensed by Native Village

Rodeo legend Tom Reeves is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  In 2001, Reeves won the PRCA World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider.  He was a veteran at age 37.

Reeve's blue-collar cowboy work ethic hasnít allowed him to slow down. In 2007 he coached the Ranger College (TX) rodeo team to the National Finals Rodeo menís title. For that, he received a ProRodeo Hall of Fame ďMentoring Award.Ē

In 2008, Reeves was elected to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

Reeves was recently interviewed during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. His Wild Card Pro Rodeo company had stock there that included 5 bulls and a bronc.



What was your childhood like growing up in rural South Dakota?

I grew up southeast of Eagle Butte, South Dakota right on the Missouri River on the Indian reservation -- went to an Indian boarding school and the whole deal. At the boarding school we got lonesome for our folks and family because they didnít run the busses way out in those rural areas. You didnít have much choice but to go there, but itís just something everybody you knew did. So it didnít seem like it was strange or anything, because we didnít know nothing else. But we had a good nature and I have nothing but good memories of being there.


When did you start competing professionally in saddle bronc riding?

I brought my first PRCA card when I was 15, and I had a permit to compete professionally when I was 15. I pretty much didnít do the amateur deal -- I skipped that. I won the high school rodeo a couple of times: when I was 15, in Yakima, Washington; and then again when I was 17 in Douglass, Wyoming. I did pro rodeos, went to Indian rodeos since I was 13 years old, and before then I did youth rodeos since I was 8 years old. From the start I had to compete against some of the best guys in the world. Howard Hunter [Lakota and four-time Indian Finals Rodeo Champion saddle bronc rider in 1980, 1987, 1988, and 1990] was probably 15 years older than me and was from Kyle, South Dakota. HeĎd   been in the PRCA Finals several times. He was bad ass and knew how to ride.

Looking back, how do you feel about your accomplishment of winning the PRCA 2001  World Saddle Bronc Championship?

Since I was five years old, thatís what Iíd wanted to do. Of course itís something Iím very proud of, that I fulfilled a childhood dream and goal, but thereís still so many other things to go win. Now Iím into stock contracting and things like that, and I want to be the best in that too. I coached a college team for several years, and we won National Championship and that was pretty rewarding. It was Ranger College, in Texas in 2007. 


You hosted a rodeo on your Rosebud Reservation at the Rosebud Casino, correct?

I did a pro rodeo at Rosebud for charity in Rosebud. Our company is Indian owned, and of course Iím proud to go back home and show out a little bit -- itís a good feeling. Thereís a lot of talent in Indian country, and they appreciate a good rodeo. The majority of people on the reservation, you canít fool them. They know what a good bronc is, and theyíre the best rodeo fans there is.



What advice do you offer other young Natives who aspire to be a pro rodeo athlete?

I would go to a quality rodeo school -- I teach rodeo schools myself -- because thatís how I got started at a young age, and I would compete against the best. But the main thing is I worked hard and never quit. Itís an advantage to be an Indian in a lot of different ways. You can use your minority status for your benefit, and even as something to egg yaí on. Itís a good thing to be Indian. Itís something Iím proud of.
 


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