Jim Mueller, the longtime contestant committee volunteer at Cheyenne Frontier Days has attended the 111-year-old event 73 times.

Although creating a rodeo organization from scratch is no easy task, the National High School Rodeo Association – organizers of the new Wrangler Division for junior-high school students – has been there before. Texas educator Claude Mullins developed the NHSRA in the late 1940s as a way to convince ranch kids in his state to stay in school and earn their diplomas.

Growing up in a saddle-bronc-riding family and being in love with the event since I was about 10 weeks old, it’s no surprise that most of my heroes were bronc riders. Among them were my father, Tom Tescher, my uncle Jim Tescher, Alvin Nelson and Kansas-raised Bobby Berger.

Phil Stadtler might be in his mid-80s, but at 6 feet, 2 inches, he still looks like he could buck a few bales of alfalfa with little trouble. Each of his hands is as broad as an iron skillet. One eye is sky-blue, the other blind, cloudy from a long-ago ranching accident.

Fourth-generation chuck-wagon racer Jason Glass has a handle on the pressure that comes with driving the family’s trademark checkerboard wagon at venues across Western Canada.

Like a West Texas ranch that still hauls out the wagon for brandings, the Stock Horse of Texas Association hasn't changed much, either. Oh, it's grown during the past decade-both in memberships and the number of yearly events-but it's stayed true to its roots.