Thu Apr 11th, 2019
Special to the Drum
In just over a month, Dustin Sanchez will ride off into the sunset as an Ignacio Bobcat.
But that sun’s already risen again, revealing to him his next destination.
“You know, everyone around here usually is going to close schools so they can be close to home, with family and everything,” he said during a phone interview Sunday night, April 7. “I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone.”
Without, however, leaving his chosen ‘comfort’ zone: atop four-legged beasts given eight seconds in which to buck him off their backs and bury him in the dirt below. One such animal had tried just a day before, but failed—exactly the sort of news Garden City (Kan.) Community College head rodeo coach Jimboy Hash had received in the recent past, and which he’ll hope to continue witnessing emerge before his own eyes in the coming years.
Thursday, April 4, Sanchez officially committed on location to become a Broncbuster.
Probably could have jumped into a chute and competed right there and then too; members of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Central Plains Region, the ’Busters were to host the 52nd Annual GCCC Broncbuster Rodeo from April 5 -7, using the GCCC Horse Palace as well as the Finney County Fairgrounds.
“I didn’t really get to see much of it because I came back for my own rodeo,” said Sanchez, referring to an event in Ganado, Ariz., at which he won the bull riding competition with an 83-point ride.
“But I went and did a college visit and everything, looked around, and…it’s a pretty cool school,” he said. “And it’s just kind of a ‘cowboy’ city, you know? There’s a parking lot like our high school parking lot, and it’s real mellow there—not hustle and bustle everywhere, like a big university would be.”
“One of my rodeo friends’ older sister…gave my name to the coach—Jimboy—and he looked me up on Facebook,” explained Sanchez. “That’s how we got in contact, and we started talking about possible offers. I sent him a few videos of me riding, and he started saying ‘I don’t have many bull riders, so I’d love to bring you on.’”
Not bad for a fellow first hooked on the event not really all that long ago.
“It was freshman year,” recalled Sanchez, son of K.C. Hall and Jessie Sanchez, “and I got up on a bucking steer in the Chama Days Rodeo over in Chama, N. M. I kind of just took off from there…started getting on high-school bulls, practice bulls, and just fell in. It became part of my life.”
Named to the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association’s 2018-19 Cinch Team as its bull rider, Sanchez has already been victorious six times—including a sweep of the three-day Cortez event (rides of 65, 73 and 71 points) back in September 2018—in CSHSRA action, with scheduled stops in Golden (4/13-14), Lamar (4/27-28), Rifle (5/3-5) and Greeley (5/11-12) still remaining before the May 23-27 State Finals in Craig.
And then, of course, there’s the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., coming up in July—for which he’s looking pretty good to qualify [as he did in Light Rifle the past two summers] out of the Centennial State.
Asked what advice received during his IHS days would serve him best moving forward, at GCCC and beyond, Sanchez—who mentioned exercise science as a possible field of study at Garden City—replied, “Mostly what (Bobcat Wrestling head coach) Jordan Larsen and (assistant coach) Cody Haga taught me over the past couple years: If you’re going to do something, do it with full effort. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.”