“I got bucked off a lot; landing upside down makes a hard head, costly too with all the crushed hats.”
Still, the school-of-hard-knocks has paid off, according to Cable Wareham, who turns 19-years-old this week.
“Every time I’d hit the ground I got back on more determined I could ride broncs,” the Whiting cowboy declared.
Mindset and dedication have paid big dividends as Wareham is officially the best high school saddle bronc rider in the country.
He rated that championship title winning the saddle bronc riding average at the recent National High School Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Placing in every go-round, Wareham scored 216.5 points on three rides, while the runner-up had 197 points.
“I was happy to make qualified rides and really pleased to win the championship,” he said. “It was a big improvement over a year ago at the finals when I kept getting bucked off.”
Route to the title is especially significant to the cowboy, too. “I marked a ‘63’ on my first horse and was offered a re-ride,” he remembered. “It was hard deciding whether I should keep my low score or try another bronc.
“Last year when I took a re-ride I got bucked off at 7.8-seconds and lost all my points,” Wareham continued. “But I knew the score on my first horse this year wouldn’t stand up in the average so I took the re-ride.”
This time it paid off moving him up to first in the go-round with 76.5 points. Marking 66-points, Wareham was eighth in the second go-round, and came back placing third in the short-go with 74-points.
All totaled it made Wareham the highest scoring saddle bronc rider at the rodeo.
Wareham earned the opportunity to represent Kansas at the national competition by being the state champion saddle bronc rider.
Riding at eight Kansas High School Rodeos in the 2019-2020 rodeo season Wareham was the yearend highpoint saddle bronc rider. That was boosted by being his event winner at the Kansas High School Rodeo Finals in Lakin
Actually Kansas high school saddle bronc riders all did well at the national rodeo. Ty Pope of Garnett was third overall with 196.5 points, and Weston Patterson, Waverly, came in 12th with 130 points.
“I travel to rodeos with Ty and Weston so that was really great for us all to compete together and place at the Nationals,” Wareham said. Colton Potter of Grenola was 15th with 108-points.
“You’d almost have to say Kansas cowboys dominated the National High School Finals in saddle bronc riding,” Wareham smiled. “Actually, Kansas’ rough stock riders all did well at Nationals.”
Pope was sixth in bareback bronc riding with 222-points. Colt Eck, Redfield, marked 212.5-points on three bareback broncs to place 13th. His brother Bryce Eck totaled 142.5 points to rank 18th. Quintonn Lundsford, McCune, placed 20th in the Nationals bareback average with 137-points.
Lane Berkenmeier, Maple, Hill was sixth in bull riding with 77.5-points, and Tate Pollmeier, Fort Scott, ranked 14th, with 62-points.
“Those six Kansas bronc riders making it to the short-go are top ranch hands too,” inserted Rob Wareham, the champion’s dad. “They do ranch work on a regular basis; Colton Potter is a fulltime rancher.
“I mean these teenagers are the kind of cowboys who can catch a cantankerous cow in the middle of a section by themselves on a three-year-old colt and get her on a trailer if need be. Cable and I have been to the pasture with all of them,” Rob Wareham continued.
“I’m really proud of how well Kansas cowboys did at the National High School Rodeo Finals,” Cable Wareham credited. “With the top performance of the timed events cowboys, Kansas ended up second in the boys’ team standings.”
Combined with cowgirls, Kansas’ high school contestants were fifth in the overall team standings.
Ever since he got his first pony in kindergarten, the Jackson County teenager has known he wanted to be a cowboy. “I started breaking ponies to ride and didn’t even have a big horse of my own until I was in the fifth grade,” he said.
Demanded to train young horses while still in elementary school, Wareham preferred the real cowboy life. “I did day work on horseback for cattle owners in the area,” he said. “Between my dad and grandpa we have about 300 momma cows that I help look after.”
Urge to riding bucking horses came naturally for the cowboy who started riding saddled steers in junior high school.
“It was just in my blood,” Wareham contended. “I always liked colts that had a little buck in them. My uncle Marty Hebb was a champion saddle bronc rider and that rubbed off some too.
“I’ve done calf roping and team roping which are essential for a rancher. But I prefer the rough stock at rodeos,” he said.
An all-around athlete Wareham played football and basketball and ran some track at Jackson Heights High School, Holton.
“We had a great football team making the Class 1A state semifinals,” said the starting quarterback, leader in several school groups.
“Leaving the football field late at night to be at a rodeo the next day made for some tough weekends,” he added.
No dedicated exercise or calisthenics program required. “I stay in shape being a cowboy,” he contended. “We have an arena with a bucking chute on the ranch and keep a few of our own practice broncs.”
A team effort the traveling partners take turns helping each other out of the chute and working as pickup men.
No slowdown after the high school accomplishments, Wareham has purchased his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association permit. “I usually compete in three or four rodeos a week, top amateur competitions as well as professional rodeos,” he said.
His arena skills have earned him a rodeo scholarship to attend Fort Scott Community College. “The coaches there are great for saddle bronc riding with top practice horses from Don Reno, Nowata, Oklahoma,” Wareham said.
College classes start this week as Wareham is majoring in ranch management. “We’ll be in the classroom not computer lessons, and I’ll be busy working out for the rodeo team, too,” he said,
Looking toward National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Finals qualifications two years, Wareham is uncertain the follow-up direction.
“Where I move forward in my college education depends on my rodeo successes and what’s offered to me,” he said. “I intend to continue competing in rodeos throughout my lifetime hopefully qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.”
Youngest child of Rob and Heldi Wareham, Cable’s two brothers and sister aren’t active in the sport of rodeo.
Despite his saddle bronc championships and qualifying on most of his mounts, Wareham remains humble.
“I try my best every time out, but it’s always possible to get bucked off. I’m still figuring it out,” Wareham insisted. “If you’re not pushing yourself to get better, there’s no reason to keep doing it.”
He’s already collected several rodeo checks since completing his high school career.
“I just love it. There’s no better feeling in the world,” the best high school saddle bronc rider insisted.