Utah cowboy thinks of father as he tries for bareback riding championship

Kaycee Feild competing in Fort Worth in 2012.
Kaycee Feild competing in Fort Worth in 2012. Star-Telegram

Thirty years ago, Kaycee Feild’s father, Lewis, spurred his way to winning both the world all-around and bareback riding titles.

The elder Feild snared the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s world all-around titles in 1985, 1986 and 1987. He also won bareback riding world championships in 1985 and 1986.

Three decades later, Kaycee Feild, who is from Spanish Fork, Utah, is walking in his father’s bootsteps. While competing at the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this week, he’s on pace to win a record-tying fifth world bareback riding title.

Feild is attempting to tie Joe Alexander (who won in 1971-75) and Bruce Ford (1978, 1979, 1982, 1983 and 1987).

Feild moved a step closer to winning buckle No. 5 on Monday night at the NFR, which runs through Saturday at the Thomas and Mack Center. He won the NFR’s fifth round after turning in a score of 91 aboard a bronc named Reckless Maggie, which is owned by the Calgary Stampede.

After winning the round, Feild is ranked No. 1 in the 2015 bareback world title race with $208,001. Oregon cowboy Steven Peebles is ranked second with $188,767.

Without question, a fifth world title would be special to Feild because it would place him in a three-man elite club. But it also would be special because his father is homebound battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

Though his father faces a life-threatening disease, Feild is optimistic.

“He’s doing really good,” Feild said of his father. “He started his second round of chemo this past Friday and he’s going to beat it.”

Lewis Feild, 59, has been forced to watch the NFR by television from his home in Elk Ridge, Utah. In previous years, the elder Feild often appeared on the NFR telecasts as he cheered Kaycee from a front row arena seat at the NFR.

As he competes at the 2015 NFR, Kaycee Field, 28, said he deeply misses his father.

“I’ll bet he’s worn out his recliner, riding with me,” Feild said.

Asked if it’s more challenging to prepare for this week’s NFR, Feild said: “It is. My preparation for the NFR was a little different this year. I spent a lot of time with my dad and my family. The bareback riding is 50 percent mindset. You have to have the right mind to get out there and win, and to dig down and find that within yourself.”

Though watching his father’s illness has been challenging, Field said he still can effectively concentrate on riding broncs.

“Once the bareback riding gets started there’s nothing that gets in between me and my job,” Feild said. “But looking over there and not seeing my dad in his seat, it’s a little bit different and it’s really hard.”

Feild and his father are close. The younger Feild said he attempts to mirror his father’s humble way of living.

“Hopefully, his humbleness was passed down to me,” Feild said. “If you would go up and talk to my dad and you didn’t know him, you would never know that he was a five-time world champion cowboy. He’s also the best family man who has ever been. He’s got more friends and family than I could ever imagine.”

At the NFR, Feild is contestant No. 11. Throughout the NFR, fans have clipped on a small No. 11 patch on their clothing in support for the Feild family.

“One thing I’ve learned through this difficult time that you can’t take for granted your friends and family,” Feild said. “You have to embrace every friend and every person who has done anything for you. I thank everyone who has shown support. It’s been overwhelming.”

Cutting horse update

At the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity, Erin Russell of Fort Worth tied for third in the amateur finals after turning in a score of 214 on CR Boon To Be Tuff Monday at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

Russell tied with Gayle Trotter, who rode Polly Shine. Trotter is from Millsap.

Marilyn Jo Franz of Stillwater, Okla., won the amateur title with a 217 on Hawks Desire.

The Futurity concludes Saturday with the open division finals.