By Kendra Santos
Being an all-around cowboy is a big deal to Texas teen Kreece Dearing. And it shows. The 18-year-old high school senior earned his way to Rodeo Corpus Christi in four events—steer wrestling, heading, heeling and tie-down roping—through the World Champions Rodeo Alliance’s DY (Division Youth) Program. Once he got to town, he went head-to-head with his big-dog heroes, and proved he belongs at this $550,000 WCRA major by advancing to tonight’s progressive-round performance at American Bank Center in both the steer wrestling and team roping.
“I think it’s really cool that the WCRA has given us young guys the opportunity to come compete against the idols we look up to,” said Kreece, who’s the son of Venita and Rodney Dearing, and will soon finish his senior year at Abeka Christian Academy.
The top eight on the DY Leaderboard in each event got called up to compete in Corpus. Kreece got the nod in four events, then advanced on in the steer wrestling and team roping, heading for his old friend Rendon Powledge of Grandview, Texas.
“Rendon and I grew up roping together, then went different ways,” Kreece said. “The top eight headers rope with the top eight heelers, we got the chance to rope together down here and it’s treated us well.”
Dearing of Chico, Texas worked his way onto the DY Leaderboard by nominating high school rodeos and jackpots, including Ote Berry’s Junior Steer Wrestling World Championship Tour events. Forty-eight contestants, including the DY eight, competed in two preliminary rounds here at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, Texas, with the top 24 punching their tickets to the big show right along the coast at American Bank Center.
Dearing is looking forward to roping and bulldogging in town tonight, and says he doesn’t favor any event over the other. In March, he competed in the Jr Ironman versatility contest held in conjunction with the Cinch Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Dearing and company hit the beach after dinner last night. His sister Laramie plans to start school at Texas A&M Corpus Christi this summer, so the family got a fun sneak peek. Kreece will start college as an ag business major at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas in the fall. He currently works on a concrete crew.
“I work early mornings through lunchtime running equipment, then haul butt home to rope and bulldog as much as I can,” he said. “I’m trying to learn the business side of construction, so I can eventually part off and have my own company. I’m hoping the ag business degree will help with that also.”
One of the world-class cowboys Kreece looks up to most is NFR header Coleman Proctor.
“He’s so genuine, and you can tell he’s just relaxed and talking from his heart in every interview,” Dearing said. “I’ve seen him miss at the NFR, and still ride out smiling. To me, that shows a lot of character.
“My game plan is to go to college and college rodeo. Then when I get out of college, I hope to hit the road and get started on the professional rodeo trail. I’d like to one day try and make the NFR and get into the Timed Event.”
But first to take on the world in two events tonight. The top two in each event from the first three perfs will square off against each other and the Leaderboard #1 on Saturday night at American Bank Center.