By: Julia Dondero
Gus Gaillard, a collegiate all-around hand from Morse, Texas, recently wrote his triumphant story during the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA)’s inaugural Rodeo Carolina event at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. While all eyes were on Isaac Diaz’s Triple Crown of Rodeo journey, Gaillard was also zeroed in on competing at his best in the Saddle Bronc Riding.
Growing through the WCRA Division Youth program ranks, the 20-year-old has flown under the radar at many major WCRA events, just waiting for the perfect time to make his mark. That perfect time struck during the Rodeo Carolina Triple Crown of Rodeo Round, atop of New Star Pro Rodeo’s “South Point Buckle”.
As the Triple Crown of Rodeo Round approached, the North Carolina air was heavy with anticipation. All hearts were beating quickly as rodeo fans and competitors alike knew the opportunities at stake.
Gaillard selected “South Point Buckle” through the unique WCRA stock draft system and explained his excitement for the successful matchup.
“South Point Buckle has a great style, and we got along great. I was excited for the Triple Crown of Rodeo match-up and knew I had to focus on doing my best,” said the Lone Star state native.
Through 8-seconds of gritty determination, Gaillard marked 86 points–enough to best the competition and take home over $18,000 when it was all said and done. However, the wait between Gaillard’s ride and the most significant victory of his career felt like an eternity.
“This is one of the greatest wins of my career so far. I couldn’t let up, regardless of the opportunities at stake,” Gaillard explained, referencing Isaac Diaz’s shot at the million-dollar bonus.
“Isaac actually recruited me to rodeo at Tarleton State University when he was an assistant coach there. I spoke to him before and after the event, and I look up to him so much. He is an upstanding, godly man, and I look up to him and his character. This win was so special and a full circle moment for me,” explained Gaillard, who is now a sophomore at Tarleton State University.
For the collegiate athlete, this win not only serves as the first victory in his Triple Crown of Rodeo pursuits but also as a highly memorable career milestone. The third-generation rough stock rider explained Rodeo Carolina became a destination for himself and his family.
“My grandpa flew out to North Carolina with me, and we made it a destination trip. He has always wanted to travel and see new places, and spending downtime in North Carolina has created many priceless memories,” said Gaillard.
Saddle Bronc Riding runs through Gus Gaillard’s blood, and he accredits his family’s support and rodeo wisdom for helping him reach this milestone in his career.
“I’ve learned so much from my family. Throughout the week, my grandpa told me, ‘Lift hard, set your feet, and go win,’” said the young gun with aspirations of becoming a professional saddle bronc rider and making a living pursuing his passion.
“The WCRA has provided me many opportunities to win large sums of money, and I am grateful for the opportunity. This win will further help me pursue my dreams,” explained Gaillard, who now sets his sights on the Triple Crown of Rodeo Road and nominating the Stampede at the E, which will take place January 4-7 at the Fabulous Lazy E Arena.