Cash Wilson's Wild Ride
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Cash Wilson

Of all his extra-curriculars, Wilson’s favorite sport is rodeo, and he plans to attend the University of Wyoming this fall. The cowboy’s trophy buckles are many, from the 2017 National Little Britches Rodeo Association Saddle Bronc Riding Champion, to multiple-time state champion, to taking first in the National High School Rodeo twice, and in 2019 is hoping for a third win at Nationals.

Nate Wek: When did you fall in love with rodeo?

Cash Wilson: “My whole life has been around horses and stuff, bucking horses. My family rodeos – cousins, uncles, and they’re all my role models, and I look up to a lot of them. My Uncle Mike, he’s played a big role in my success in rodeo. I worked for him for four or five years in the summertime, and he just got me started in bronc riding. We used to get on ponies, and he has this bucking machine out there, and we just kind of set my saddle for me.”

NW: Out of all your events, how did you choose saddle bronc?

CW: “When I look at a saddle bronc rider, it’s the classy event. They always call it the classic event. I just look up to a lot of saddle bronc riders – all my cousins and uncles and everyone in my family has done it. The people I looked up to have all done it. So it inspired me to do it, I guess.”

NW: Let’s talk about what it’s like to compete at the state level for rodeo. Can you explain what that atmosphere is like during the state rodeo championships?

CW: “State, it’s a whirlwind. Get on every single day and kind of have a lot going on, usually, if you’re in multiple events. You’re up all night and all morning, and you just got to stay focused. There’s a lot going on. Stay focused and do your business, I guess.”

NW: How did you react when you found out that you were going to nationals that first time?

CW: Well, my freshman year at nationals, I was just a little bugger. I was nervous. I missed out [disqualified] both of my horses. I covered both of them, but I missed them both out. I was just kind of jittery and it was nerve-wracking to kind of experience it. And then sophomore year when I experienced it, I was like, okay, I’m meant to be here. I can compete with these guys. Sophomore year went well. I made a few mistakes and ended up fifth, but then last year, I knew I could win. I had it in my mind that I could do it, and not cocky at all but confidence. You’ve got to believe it if you want to do it.”

NW: To have that success at nationals, and now you’re a senior, what’s the goal?

CW: “Do it again. Do it again. I think there’s only been a couple guys to do it in the saddle bronc. Just to do it two years in a row would be a good accomplishment. And just know that it wasn’t just a fluke.”

NW: A good chunk of Division 1 college athletes have come out of South Dakota. To be put on that list, what does that mean to you?

CW: “My decision with college, University of Wyoming is pretty cool. The rodeo in Wyoming, they treat it as any other sport. It’s pretty cool. Set goals and achieve them. It’s a pretty big school and I hope I can get good enough grades to stay.”

South Dakota 2019 State High School Rodeo Finals

SDPB brings you highlights and results from the state rodeo finals, held in Belle Fourche, June 13-16.

SDPB1: Thursday, July 11, 8pm (7 MT)

SDPB1: Sunday, July 13, 1pm (noon MT)