By: Kendra Santos
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance was made for a guy like Termaine DeBose, who’s tall on talent, but short on time to compete compared to his full-time cowboy counterpart friends. Never heard of the tough Texas steer wrestler, who’ll return to next week’s $500,000 WCRA Semi Finals—which will feature May 18-19 performances at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma—to take a second shot at beating the big dogs? Not to worry. The best in the business will be happy to fill you in.
“Five of us were in the truck over the Fourth of July my rookie year (in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) in 2012, including Termaine and me, (Texan) Ben Goodman, (Arkansan) Jason Tapley and (Texan) Monty Eakin,” said reigning and two-time World Champion Steer Wrestler Tyler Waguespack, who hangs his hat in Gonzales, Louisiana, and will join DeBose on the WCRA Semis roster at next week’s rodeo. “We went rodeoing for the month of July, and Termaine dang sure won his share. He’s that guy that when he backs in the box, he’s got just as good a chance to win as anybody. Just because he has a job and stays home more than some of us doesn’t mean he can’t have the fastest time at any rodeo he enters.”
It’s true, and his last trip to the Lazy E for the first WCRA Semis last November proves the point. DeBose—who’s 39 and lives in Anderson, Texas, between Houston and Huntsville—won both the opening and progressive rounds, and placed second in the average. The 6’ 2”, 265-pound steer wrestler missed his steer in the finals for a shot at the $1 million Windy City Roundup in Chicago. So you see, next week’s $500,000 WCRA Semis is basically “overs” for this handy bulldogger.
“I’m excited to get back to the Lazy E,” DeBose said. “I’ve been waiting to get a chance to win lots of money and go to Green Bay.”
Next week’s $500,000 Semi Finals is a cash cow in itself, and the cowboy cream will rise and advance to the June 1, $1 million Titletown Stampede in Green Bay, Wisconsin. DeBose, who rodeos in the PRCA’s Texas Circuit, threw his name back in the WCRA hat by nominating some of the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association and United Professional Rodeo Association events he also enters.
“The WCRA is the only place you can go qualify to win $50,000,” he said. “The way I look at it, there are a lot of guys right now who have been going all year trying to make the NFR that don’t have $50,000 won yet. In the WCRA, you don’t have to go as much, but you still have a chance to win a lot of money. The WCRA gives a guy like me a shot at $1 million in Chicago, Green Bay and Salt Lake (the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo coming up in July) without beating the wheels off of my truck.
“If I do good at one of these rodeos that would let me go rodeo. I shoe horses for a living. I train and ride my own horses. If a guy like me who works for a living has a bad month rodeoing, it hurts me. The WCRA is a good chance to do big things.”
DeBose considers Tommy Cook and Bill Pace the main mentors in his bulldogging career.
“Those two guys both helped me with horses to ride before I had horses of my own, and have shown me a lot of the ropes in rodeo,” DeBose said. “They’ve helped me practice and get tuned up, so I’m ready when I get to the rodeo.”
DeBose will have his horses—he bulldogs on an 11-year-old palomino he calls Oscar, and hazes on a one-eyed bay horse by the name of Nick, who’s 15—at the Lazy E next week. And Pace, who’s also entered, will be over on the hazing side to line things out for his farrier friend, like he did last time they did bulldogging battle at the Lazy E.
“My goal as a steer wrestler is to compete as much as I can and win as much as I can—to keep pushing myself, never settle and do my best, no matter what,” DeBose said. “The WCRA is the perfect place for me, because you don’t have to beat the wheels off of your truck the year before to get in. Anybody can get qualified and have the same chance at the same money, and last year doesn’t limit you this year as far as your opportunity to go win.
“The key to winning at the Lazy E next week will be making sure you’re on the start, because it’s a pretty fast setup. I want to get a good catch on every steer, and finish hard and strong. I have a lot of confidence in Bill, which plays into it quite a bit in our event. I want to do what I do and not get out of my element. I’m ready to get there and give it my best shot.”
Waguespack will be right there with him.
“There are a lot of guys who choose to stay close to home for a job or family who can blow your doors off at any time,” Wag said. “Just because somebody doesn’t go to all the big rodeos doesn’t mean he can’t bulldog. There are tons of guys just like Termaine who stay around the house, but are capable of winning anywhere. They win their share around the house, whether we’re there or not. They’re tough, and they’re always part of the conversation of guys you have to beat to get a check. Termaine’s one of those guys.”