Wes Hertzog is an inspiration for rodeo enthusiasts and novice bronc riders alike. Hertzog captured the world's senior saddle bronc riding championship Sunday in Reno, Nev. at the age of 49.
"I was happy about winning the title," Hertzog said. "It has been six years since my last title."
Hertzog will not defend his title next year because of the amount of time competing requires away from home, he said.
"I spent the last ten months on the road," Hertzog explained. "The circuit took me from Canada to California and into the Midwest. I don't have the dedication it would take to repeat so why bother?"
Hertzog was the defending world champion saddle bronc rider from 1992 to 1994. His biggest thrill came in 1995 when he won the all around world championships, he said.
"It was pretty cool. I won the final in bull riding, the final in team roping and runner up in bronc riding," he said.
Hertzog stays in shape by watching his weight and staying loose and limber. But, saddle bronc riders focus more on timing instead of physical training.
"I watch what I eat and quit eating when I'm full and eating healthy on the road is the toughest part," Hertzog said. "I exercise and stretch to remain flexible."
Hertzog became interested in rodeo riding growing up in Maybell.
"I was a 12-year-old when I rode my first calf and won $14," Hertzog recalled. "A year later I was bucking horses."
Hertzog was hooked on rodeo after he saw his first professional rodeo in Meeker.
"Clyde and Joe Frost were great bronc riders," Hertzog said. "They really influenced me to ride in the rodeo. My older brother also inspired me as well."
Hertzog is a self-employed truck owner/operator and hauls sand and gravel through the winter months until the circuit picks up in the spring.
"Being an independent trucker gives me the flexibility I need to ride the rodeo circuit," Hertzog said.
Although the champion will not be riding the circuit to win another world title, northwest Colorado residents haven't seen the last of him yet.
"I will be content riding in the mountain state circuit, which travels to Colorado and Wyoming," he concluded.