Seth Cooke has something to write home about.
Of course, the Weatherford College sophomore could just as easily drive home and tell everyone since he is a Weatherford High School product.
Either way, local folks have plenty of which to be proud of concerning the hometown guy. Not only is he now the reigning All-Around Champion in the United Professional Rodeo Association, he’s anxious to get the second half of a productive sophomore season underway for the Coyotes.
“Winning the All-Around in the UPRA was definitely my biggest goal for 2014,” said Cooke. “This was my biggest win at the amateur level, and it was definitely a good feeling to accomplish that goal.”
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Cooke specializes in tie-down roping and steer wrestling. He started roping in high school and got hooked.
“I started on some of my dad’s old race horses on a whim, and it just evolved from there,” Cooke said. “I was fortunate enough to have Marty Melvin [of Dusty Spur Ranch] offer to teach me to steer wrestle, so I started that in ninth grade.
“These events are probably my favorites because they combine horsemanship with athleticism – two of my greatest passions.”
Cooke continued with his passion through high school, competing in the Texas High School Rodeo Association. He won the calf roping competition as a freshman, steer wrestling as a senior and all-around as a sophomore and senior.
Cooke’s family has no rodeo background, but he did grow up around horses. His father was in the race horse business for a long time.
In the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Cooke is currently ranked seventh in both tie-down roping and steer wrestling as the second half of the college rodeo season approaches March 19 in Odessa. He struggled his freshman season with the Coyotes, but he feels his success in the UPRA will help him make a second-half surge.
“Learning to win at the UPRA helps with college rodeos a lot because they both consist of one-head rodeos. You drive all that way and get one run, whether you draw good or bad, to make something work,” he said. “The only difference is the college rodeos take the top 10 from the first round into a short go where a guy can be a little more conservative sometimes, but there’s no room for being conservative in the first round.”
Last season, the WC men qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., as a team. It was the first time in school history an entire team advanced. The top two teams in the final Southwest Region standings following the April 23-25 rodeo at Tarleton State will move on to nationals.
Currently, the Coyotes are third with 1,630 points. Tarleton leads with 2,542 and Western Texas is second with 1,705.
Weatherford College Rodeo Coach Johnny Emmons had high praise for Cooke, but said he believes the best is still yet to come.
“Seth had some rough luck last season, but in my opinion is one of the most talented guys on our team,” said Emmons.
Cooke said his plans are to turn pro when the time is right. He’s still pondering his plans after Weatherford College. Unlike other sports, college rodeo rules allow a competitor to stay with a community college three years before moving on to a university.
“I plan on making a run at the PRCA [Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association] as soon as my ducks are in a row,” he said. “And if that happens to be next year, I’d sure like to incorporate another year at WC in those plans.
“I’m not entirely sure when my professional career will start, but there is no doubt I plan for it to be sometime in the near future.”