By: Kendra Santos
It’s so far, so good for saddle bronc rider Shorty Garrett in the early going of 2020, and the W at last weekend’s Days of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs in West Valley City, Utah, sure didn’t hurt the South Dakota cowboy’s cause. Garrett and his traveling partners, Brody Cress and Isaac Diaz, are all ranked among the Top 15 bronc riders in the world. They’re also all now headed to the World Champions Rodeo Alliance’s $1 million Royal City Roundup, February 28 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, a city that’s still abuzz about the newly crowned football kings Kansas City Chiefs.
“It’ll be awesome for our buddy group to get to go to Kansas City in the same rig,” said Shorty, who admits Cress does more than his third of the driving. “When we get there, the odds will be with us that the rig’s going to take home some money, and there’ll be a lot of it up for grabs. That’s a good feeling.”
Last Saturday night, on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, Garrett made his move toward the Royal City Roundup with 83 points on Northcott Macza’s Dark Secret.
“We didn’t know anything about her, so we called around,” Garrett said of the decision-making process that goes into the draft, in which cowboys pick their four-legged partner in order of Virtual Rodeo Qualifier (VRQ) points standing. “She’s young, but we thought she’d be the diamond in the rough for me. I kind of took a chance on her, and what we figured worked out to be right.”
The top two scorers in each of four bronc riding pools advanced to Kansas City, a gang that also includes Diaz, Dalton Kingery, Chet Johnson, Cody Angland, Clint Lindenfeld, Nat Stratton and Taos Muncy. Cress joins that great eight by being the VRQ points leader for this segment of the WCRA season. Garrett also gets to go to the $1 million Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo this summer in Salt Lake City, thanks to his 85.5-point winner aboard Diamond G Rodeo’s Miss Nancy in the two-man bonus round at the Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs.
“Being able to kill two birds with one stone with this event is even better,” said 27-year-old Garrett of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, of the WCRA-majors double dip. “I got to ride at the Days of ’47 last year, and it’s another one you don’t want to miss. The Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs was a great event, and it being held in Lewis’s honor made it even cooler.”
Garrett won $8,750 on Saturday night in a purple shirt that would have made his late Uncle T.C. Holloway and Great Great Uncle Casey Tibbs proud. With a pair of Hall of Fame bareback riding uncles in Marvin and Mark Garrett, Shorty gets asked a lot about any history he might have with a bareback rigging.
“I really never rode bareback horses,” he said. “I used JR Vezain’s bareback rigging one time in college to get on a steer. But that didn’t go very well, so that’s where it ended. I honestly always thought I’d ride bulls. I rode bulls all the way through college.
“Then I started figuring bronc riding out, and figuring out that a guy can make a nice ride and not get stepped on or hooked when it’s on a horse instead of a bull. The bronc riding is also just a little more natural event than bull riding. A cowboy doesn’t go riding his bulls around checking on his horses.”
Garrett is joining the charge of contestants who are bullish on the WCRA, and commends the WCRA on its pro-cowboy culture
“The WCRA’s trying hard for the cowboys,” he said. “They make you feel welcome when you get there, and they understand what we do. They’re all for the cowboys and all about helping the sport of rodeo. That’s why we want to go so hard with it, and why we keep showing up. The WCRA is a good deal.”