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Nevada bareback rider Trenten Montero excels at first NFR

Updated December 7, 2019 - 8:44 pm

Bareback rider Trenten Montero used to sit on random objects as a child inside his family’s ranch north of Winnemucca, pretending they were a bucking animal. Sometimes they were imaginary horses. Sometimes imaginary bulls.

Preparatory visualization, nonetheless, for the National Finals Rodeo.

“I was watching bull riding tapes and bronc riding tapes when I was in diapers,” he said. “It’s just something that I always wanted to do.”

Montero, 27, ventured from his Northern Nevada town of 7,788 to Las Vegas to compete in the NFR at the Thomas & Mack Center for the first time since turning professional in 2011. He finished second in the third go-round Saturday night with a score of 89 after winning Friday with 90.5.

“There’s not even words to describe it right now,” Montero said. “Just to be labeled one of the top bareback riders in the world is just an incredible honor. … Being able to (win a round) just more than anything proves to myself that I do belong here. It’s just a crazy experience for me.”

Montero learned rodeo from his father, Glynn, a veteran cowboy and professional saddle bronc rider who always dreamed of competing in the NFR but never qualified. He left the professional scene and returned to his ranch near Winnemucca to raise Trenten, with whom he shared his passion for rodeo.

The younger Montero was a natural, competing in all three roughstock events in high school and college at New Mexico State. He rode bareback horses and bulls professionally, but stopped riding bulls after sustaining one too many injuries — and undergoing a back surgery that forced him to miss the 2016 season.

“I was working really hard to try to avoid surgery. … Just wasn’t seeing any progress,” said Montero, noting that he was inactive for nine months. “Since I was about 7 years old, that was the longest I had gone without being on any kind of bucking animal.”

Montero said he occasionally doubted that he would qualify for the NFR, but his father said his son always maintained a positive attitude while he returned from injuries. The younger Montero competed again in the 2017 season and finished 37th in the PRCA world standings. He finished 25th in 2018.

The top 15 qualify for the NFR.

“He never lost hope,” Glynn Montero said. “There was no ‘should I be doing this?’ or anything else.”

Montero put forth his best season in 2019 to earn that elusive berth in the NFR. He won events at seven rodeos to finish among the world’s 15 best bareback riders with $80,757 in earnings.

He was the world’s best bareback rider Friday.

“I literally was so excited I was in tears,” Glynn Montero said. “I had to walk out of the building, and I was trying to call everybody I knew at home. … I was just so proud of him. I can’t even describe it.”

More NFR: Visit reviewjournal.com/NFR.

“Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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