Brothers carry on family rodeo traditionWritten by Christy Hemken
Competing the third week of June in Casper’s College National Finals Rodeo, the boys had high hopes on registration Saturday to win big, and with good reason.
“Our dad rode broncs and bulls in college, and then he rode broncs professionally, so ever since I was little I wanted to be a bronc rider, because that’s what my dad did,” says Colt, whose brothers agree that was their inspiration as well. Their father, J.D. Hamaker, competed in college rodeo and rode broncs professionally for over a decade.
In addition to rough stock, Colt also team ropes and calf ropes.
Going into the national event, Ty ranked first in bull riding in the Central Rocky Mountain Region and was eighth in saddle bronc and fifth all-around. Blaze ranked number two in saddle bronc riding in the region, which was good enough to rank him 12th nationally. Colt sat in sixth place for saddle bronc riding and 11th in team roping, where he’s a header, which placed him seventh all-around in the region.
The Hamakers says they chose to attend Central Wyoming College in Riverton because of the rodeo coach, Rick Smith. Smith, who’s been with the college since 1995, is a former National Intercollegiate Saddle Bronc Riding Champion and six-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier.
The brothers are each involved with the college’s rodeo team, which won the 2008 Central Rocky Mountain Region championship for the seventh year since 2000, for their entire college career. Ty recently completed his junior year, while Blaze was a sophomore and Colt a freshman. All three are working on general studies degrees.
The Hamakers see more rodeo in their future after college, and are already competing professionally between the 10 college rodeo weekends, which are divided between fall and spring. They say rising fuel prices have hurt.
“Gas is making it a lot harder, but we still have to drive,” says Ty. “It hurts a lot when we have to fill up.”
Rodeos have a new rule dictating a minimum amount of money awarded at short rounds; as a result, most rodeos have done away with them. “Now we can just go there once and make more money off one trip,” he says.
The cowboys travel in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska for college rodeo, but pro rodeos take them as far as Canada, Mississippi and Texas.
As of competition June 18, Colt stood 19th in saddle bronc riding, with Blaze at 32nd. Ty
ranked 29th in bull riding.