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TSU roper, 2019 Rookie of the Year ‘wouldn’t miss’ Stephenville rodeo

Ashley Inge
Paden Bray in a previous roping event.

Paden Bray, a 2017 graduate of Lipan ISD and a current Tarleton State University rodeo team member, said he “wouldn’t miss” Stephenville’s Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo.

“I’m a home-towner and there's just something about everyone when they rodeo; it’s just something about being in your hometown, it makes it pretty stinking awesome – doing it in front of people I've grown up with ever since I was a little kid,” Bray said. “I’m so dang excited. It’ll be the last rodeo of the year, so that’s even a little bit sweeter so then I'll be home for good. I’ve been gone since the middle of June.”

Bray, 21, has only been rodeoing professionally in the PRCA for two years and has already made many accomplishments for his young age.

This year, he won the Cody Stampede, with Erich Rogers.

In 2019, he was selected as Resistol Rookie of the Year as a team roping heeler by the PRCA. He won the Los Fresnos Rodeo and the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo with Tanner Green. He won the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo, the St. Paul Rodeo, the Laramie Jubilee Days and the Horse Heaven/Kennewick Round-Up, with Erich Rogers. He was also co-champion at the Annual Fourth of July Celebration, with Erich Rogers.

As an amateur, Bray was a reserve champion team roping heeler at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. He competed at The American while a senior in high school in 2017 and also qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in 2017.

“I've been rodeoing pretty much my whole life,” Bray said. “It was more of a family thing. My mom and dad roped.”

His father, Ken Bray, is the president of Equibrand and his mother, Billie Bray, is the director of marketing for Equibrand.

Bray said when it comes to rodeo, he wants to be the best.

“In the PRCA, it’s so super tough. It’s so competitive. Everybody ropes good nowadays. I just want to be the best at it,” he said. “Everyone watches the NFR and the finals. I've been watching ever since I was a little kid. It’s just like every sport – you want to grow up, and you want to be the best; I'm no different. Ever since I was a little kid, I've watched the best in the world and I just wanted to be one of them one day.”

He first started competing in rodeo when he was eight and his favorite rodeo is the St. Paul Rodeo because it was his first major ProRodeo win.

“I never wanted to do anything else,” he said. “I never even thought about doing anything else, honestly, ever since I was a little kid.”

Bray is currently a senior at Tarleton State University and is majoring in business.

Paden Bray, studio shoot during the WCRA Stampede at the E.