But at the same time they defy anyone to show them that they are not more truly amateurs than most college football players. "We win some money, sure," said Brigham Young's big, beaming All-Round Cowboy Dick Smith. "Maybe a fellow could get lucky and win a couple of hundred dollars. But this costs us all money just the same. If a boy wants to enter calf roping he's got to bring a roping horse to school and stable it and feed it. If we want stock to practice on—like a couple of bucking horses or some calves—we've got to buy it and feed it ourselves. Of course, down at BYU we've got Sinclair, the bucking barrel. It's an old oil drum with a saddle on it; we've got four innertubes nailed to the ceiling and four ropes between the tubes and the drum. Old Sinclair's never been rode yet when four men were really yanking on those ropes.
"I'll tell you something else. You can lose a lot of money too. I paid $55 in entry fees and I can lose it all. Tonight we're pulling out right after the show and we're going to drive all night and pull two horses another 500 miles to Utah State College and hit their rodeo tomorrow afternoon. I'll pay $40 there. I can lose that. We pay for gas. We pay for feed. Maybe we win once in a while and eat breaded veal on the way home but most likely we'll be eating hamburgers."
Brigham Young was not the only team which burned gasoline. Montana State's entries drove 600 miles, towing two roping horses in a trailer which the cowboys had built themselves, and they covered another 600 miles going home. Colorado A & M's drove to Laramie, competed on Friday night and set out immediately after the show on an 800-mile overnight haul, hoping to enter Iowa State's rodeo at Ames on Saturday afternoon and get back to class by Monday morning. All this was simply routine to the six-man cowboy teams which spend virtually every weekend night burning the long Western highways at 60 mph, with their horses packaged up on wheels and zooming along behind. But it was only a part of the routine. Every college rodeo club also tries to hold an annual show of its own and most of them spend months in fiendishly energetic preparation.
In Wyoming's case the burden of planning and promotion fell largely on the shoulders of Rodeo Club President Ted Schaffer, a big, dark-haired, quiet senior whose background and personality explain a great deal about the rise of college rodeoing. Most college cowboys are ranch-born and a surprising number are the sons of ex-professional rodeo buckaroos. Ted is no exception. His father, owner of the 7,000-acre Two Bar Seven dude ranch on the Wyoming-Colorado border, rode rodeo broncs for 20 years and raised his son to be a practical rancher, an athlete, a horseman—and a sportsman. "Nobody should rodeo just for the money," Schaffer Senior explains. "It isn't worth the bumps if you don't get some fun and satisfaction out of it."
WHAT THE EAST IS MISSING
Ted Schaffer and dozens of other Wyoming students seemed to be enjoying a lot of both. Their rodeo produced more spectacular falls than spectacular rides, but it also had its moments of high competence. Husky, blond Clark Wilde of BYU stayed on his bareback bronc for 10 long seconds and spurred with a will as he won the event. Colorado A & M's John Gee not only won the Brahma bull riding with his reckless ability to stick on a black-hided monster but bulldogged a steer in 4.4 seconds, which would have been highly acceptable time even in Madison Square Garden. Then Ted Schaffer (with his father acting as hazer) dove from his horse, caught and threw a later steer in a spectacular 3.5 seconds and won the event for Wyoming. The expensive show made little money, but it did not go in debt, and it moved with near-professional speed and precision.
"A little more of this," said one limping college cowboy, "and we'll be rodeoing coast to coast. Them schools in the East just do-o-o-n't know what they're missing."