By: Julia Dondero
Ever since Cole Elshere hopped onto his first Saddle Bronc horse at 13 years old, his passion for the sport has been unwavering. Flash forward a few decades and the South Dakotan is still following in his cousins, Ryan and JJ Elshere’s footsteps, with his wife, Kyndra, and daughter, Everley supporting him every step of the way.
Following in his National Finals Rodeo Qualifying cousin’s footsteps, Elshere began his professional rodeo pursuits in 2011, while also completing a business degree and competing in collegiate rodeo at Gillette Community College in Gillette, Wyo. Over the past decade, Elshere has racked up four NFR qualifications and countless accolades along the way, creating a legacy of his own.
It wouldn’t be Rodeo without the highs accompanying the lows, and for Elshere, the lows have come in the form of multiple ACL surgeries and sidelining injuries over the years. These temporary setbacks only further motivated the Saddle Bronc Rider to relentlessly pursue his passion.
“As long as the Lord continues to allow me, I will continue to pursue this dream,” Elshere explained as he reflected on his unwavering dedication to the sport.
Most recently, Elshere qualified for the 2020 NFR and has been in pursuit of acquiring his next rodeo accomplishment- another win at WCRA’s Triple Crown of Rodeo events. After taking home nearly $17,000 at the 2021 Cowtown Christmas Championship Rodeo, Elshere understands the impact the WCRA can have on a rodeo athlete’s career.
“The WCRA has made a great impact on my career. With the opportunities to have a segmented year, my leaderboard position hasn’t been affected by injuries or past setbacks” said Elshere.
Currently, the South Dakotan sits comfortably in second place on the Rodeo Carolina’s leaderboard and has his sights set on a victory at the prestigious Tryon International Equestrian Center. Through successful nominations at events like the NFR Open and Cheyenne Frontier Days, Elshere will have his pick of the draw when October rolls around.
“The ability to pick a horse that fits your style is huge. The payout and format of the WCRA have provided me with many profitable opportunities” explained Elshere, who has found great success in the organization over the years.
Upon reflecting on this success, Elshere explained the unique opportunities WCRA presents; the ability for anyone at a high skill level to compete on the same stage.
“Regardless of injuries or other setbacks, everyone has a shot in the WCRA. If your goals align, there is no reason not to nominate” said Elshere.