young guns

Bronc Evans Dominates WCRA DY Youth Heading and Heeling Ahead of 2024 WCJR
At just 14 years old, Bronc Evans is putting his mark on the WCRA Division Youth, leading the youth heading and sitting second in the heeling ahead of July’s WCJR.
Bronc Evans and Brant Cookston team roping at the 2023 Cinch World Championship Junior Rodeo.
Bronc Evans heading for Brant Cookston at the 2023 WCJR.

Bronc Evans is pulling double duty, leading the WCRA Division Youth heading and sitting second in the heeling before the 2024 World Championship Junior Rodeo.

The 14-year-old from Fairview, Missouri, leads the youth heading with 6,030.25 points and is second in the heeling with 4,647.5. Evans is making his second trip to the WCJR at the famous Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, July 23-24, with more confidence.

“I’m excited,” Evans said. “I feel better than I did last year. I have a lot better horses this year, especially on the head side. Last year I rode a 4-year-old.”

The making of a 14-year-old phenom

With rodeo blood on his mom’s side of the family—his grandfather is Dale McCracken, better known as Gizmo, The Rodeo Clown—Evans picked up a rope as a little boy and has been rodeoing since he was 7 years old.

Evans eats, sleeps and breathes roping, especially the heeling.

“I think it’s challenging, and I love practicing and failing so I can get better,” Evans said. “I’m not one of those people that just can go out there and catch slick horns 30 times in a row all day, every day. I like the heeling because it’s a little more difficult.”

Evans is homeschooled, and the family has an indoor arena, opening up the day for more practice opportunities for the seventh grader. Though he’s young, he runs a meticulous schedule: family friend and retired high school basketball coach Chris Shore comes and heads for Evans in the mornings, and a father-son duo comes and ropes in the afternoon or evening, allowing Evans to head and heel.

“[Chris] comes over in the mornings, and then I go in, eat lunch and then most times in the winter, another kid—he’s 12—and his dad come and rope, too,” Evans explained . “They come rope in the afternoon. In the morning, I just heel; normally [Chris] has four horses and we’ll run 10 or 15 a piece—so I’ll run 40 or 50. And then, when the kid comes over in the afternoon, they bring like seven horses, and we’ll run a whole bunch. I round about 150 a day.”

Having run more roping steers in his life than some adults, it’s no wonder Evans has taken the rodeo world by storm. Evans won the #9.5 team roping at the Yeti Junior World Finals in Las Vegas on the heel side in 2023, and he’s also had his fair share of breakaway success, winning the 12 & Under Breakaway at the 2023 Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping and the 10 & Under Breakaway at the 2021 Junior World Finals.

WCJR Preparation 

Evans tries to nominate all age-restricted youth events he competes in for the WCRA DY, though there aren’t many opportunities in the Show Me State. Thankfully, his success at the Junior World Qualifiers and Finals can play into his WCRA DY shift.

“Because I don’t do Junior High School Rodeo or any junior rodeo association, it’s kind of hard to find places that are aged,” Evans said. “Mainly what I’ve gotten most of my points in are the Junior World Qualifiers, Junior World Finals and then last year’s [WCJR]. I think I left last year in the heading with 2,000 points because it carries over if you do good. Then I did good at the Junior World Finals, I ended up winning that. So that gives a lot of points. The Little Britches Finals we also were third.”

Evans often heels for 14-year-old Owen Gillespie from Tennessee, who, like Evans, is a pretty wolfy kid and is a 6+ header. When Evans finished third heading at the 2023 WCJR, he did so with Brant Cookston.

“We won the average in the qualifying rounds, and then won third in the Semifinals,” Evans explained. “Then we came back to what they call the Finals, and we were like 6.4 and ended up winning third.”

Their third-place finish last year has Evans aiming to finish what he starts this year. 

“I’d really like to do good in the Finals,” Evans said. “I’d like to get there first, but then I’d also like to finish it.”

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