CASPER, WY – Winning must be in the blood for Delbert “Shorty” Garrett.
The great-great-nephew of Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame cowboy Casey Tibbs, Garrett has three uncles who have been to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as bucking horse riders: PRCA World Champion Bareback Riders Marvin and Mark Garrett and T.C. Holloway, who qualified in saddle bronc riding and passed away when Garrett was in third grade.
Ironically, Garrett began his rodeo career as a bull rider in youth rodeo.
“They had a rule that you had to be 100 pounds to get on saddle broncs,” Garrett laughed. “I didn’t hit 100 pounds until the summer of my junior year, and it wasn’t for lack of eating. When I learned about the weight limit, I ate everything I could.”
As soon as the scales tipped in his favor – literally – he began getting on broncs, taking inspiration from T.C. Today, Garrett is annually ranked among the world’s best bronc riders but has not yet made an appearance in Las Vegas for the Wrangler NFR.
Ranked 24th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings, the Eagle Butte, S.D., cowboy scored a much-needed win when he clinched the average title at the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo, July 13. For his win at the ProRodeo Tour stop he earned $4,291.
“It was actually the first time it’s gone good for me there, the first time I have even made the short go,” Garrett said.
His two broncs in Casper were both rematches, and in both cases, the horses had off days in the previous meetings. Garrett decided that he needed to do more during the ride to help keep the horses picked up and bucking strong through the eight seconds.
“Sometimes if a guy gets to relying too much on the horse, he can be left empty-handed,” he said. “So, I think it’s good if you know you need to take the fight to them.”
The plan worked, as he was sixth in the opening round with an 82.5-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Scandal before winning the finals Saturday with an 83-point trip on Cervi’s Vitalix The Natural.
“She was really good tonight,” Garrett said after winning the two-head average with 165.5 points.
Hauling partners Isaac Diaz and Brody Cress have been a big help to Garrett this season, helping him hang on to a positive mindset. Diaz is known for his positive attitude and, though currently injured and not rodeoing, he is still entering for the group.
“I’ve been known to miss the books on a rodeo or two,” said Garrett, joking. “He’s like the dad of our group. But iron sharpens iron and it helps to haul with guys who want to be better.”
Garrett is positioned well to make the leap to become a Wrangler NFR qualifier this summer with plenty of money yet to be won particularly in the next few weeks.
“When you start to realize the ladder isn’t that tall, it’s easier to take that first step,” he said.
Just don’t look for Garrett to jump back into bull riding and make a run for the all-around title.
“Bull riding was a lot of fun, but I figured out pretty quick, even when you made the whistle, a lot of times you still ended up hitting hard and getting stepped on,” he said. “Once I started to figure out the saddle broncs, get that feeling with the horse, there was no comparison for me.”
Other winners at the $269,090 rodeo were all-around cowboy Tanner Green ($3,974, tie-down roping and team roping); bareback rider Wyatt Bloom (164.5 points on two head); steer wrestler Trever Nelson (13.1 seconds on three head); team ropers Andrew Ward/Reagan Ward (11.0 seconds on two head); tie-down roper John Douch (19.0 seconds on two head); barrel racer Ericka Nelson (34.44 seconds on two runs); and bull rider Riker Carter (86.5 points on one head).