Following in dad’s footsteps
Family attends Manawa rodeo
By Holly Neumann
It’s not unusual to see young rodeo hopefuls hanging around the arena during the Mid-Western Rodeo in Manawa.
Boyd Gilliland, 4, attended this year’s rodeo, held June 28-30.
“My daddy rides horses,” said Gilliland, whose father, Byron, is a saddle bronc rider. “It looks cool.”
While sitting in his dad’s saddle on the ground, Gilliland talked with pride about what his father does.
“He rides broncos and someday I will too,” he said. “He will teach me how and I will hang on tight.”
When asked if he will one day be better than his dad, Boyd’s answer was quite simple.
“Yes, I will,” he said. “I am going to stay on.”
Byron, who brought his family to this year’s rodeo from their home in Trempealeau, laughed when he heard his son’s response.
“I would never force him to ride, but I will never discourage him, either, if this is what he wants to do,” he said. “I will support him. I am not going to lie though, it will scare the heck out of me.”
Byron has been riding broncos for more than 19 years and understands the dangers of the sport.
He tore his pelvis in half six years ago in a freak accident.
“The horse I was on caught his nose on the ground and it somersaulted and landed on me,” he said. “It shredded everything that was in there.”
Byron credited his doctors for letting him return to the sport he loves.
“They built me a metal cage to hold everything together and put big screws in there,” he said. “It took me about a year to recover and it is actually the only major injury that I have had.”
He had a few words of wisdom for anyone thinking of competing in a rodeo.
“Always get back in the saddle,” he said. “If this is where your heart is, get involved with a good group of people that know what they are doing and are good role models. Most importantly, work hard.”
Whether Boyd has that opportunity remains to be seen.
“Time will tell, I guess,” Byron said. “Anything is possible.”