Father First, Bull Rider Second

Whatever a son aspires to be, there’s no mistake of the fatherly influence. Championship Bull Riding, a recognizably family sport where everyone takes care of another, blood or otherwise, lessons are learned from watching what happens both inside and out of the arena.


Father First, Bull Rider Second

Newt Brasfield is a young bull rider headed to his first CBR World Finals this summer. He clocks in at No. 6 after a stellar season on the Road to Cheyenne. But the job he enjoys most, being a Dad. He is a young father. But he is wise in his ways and what the life lessons he wants to give to his, soon to be three-year-old son, Briar, who most days can be found playing something “bull oriented” in the bucking chutes.

At only 22, Brasfield’s mindset is already on his future after bull riding. He has specific philosophies he wants to teach Briar to give him the foundation he believes is responsible for his success and help shape his son’s future.

“I will teach him that your relationship with God is first. If you stay healthy there, you can stay healthy anywhere. That gives you an opportunity to do greater things.”

He said he will emphasize that humbleness; by acknowledging his fans and never forget where he has come from… “The fans are first because there’s no event without the fans. The event and the fans go hand in hand.”

Brasfield’s goal is to rodeo for a few more years and acquire enough resources so he can then start hauling his young son where he wants to go. Brasfield, one of three boys, has rodeoed since he was old enough to walk and talk. His parents owned a trucking company. He said it was common for his dad to drive all week, come home and then get in the truck to haul him to a rodeo.

“He always was providing for us financially or hauling us to get there,” said Brasfield. And, he plans on doing the same for his family. He recently bought an RV so that he could spend more time with his wife, Brooke and Briar. 

Brasfield knows the sacrifices of being away from home for an extended time is small compared to not having to go to a conventional job. He said he wants to do this now so that he can take Briar to anything he wants to do whether or not it’s associated with bull riding.


Fathers and Sons

Four-time World Champion Tuff Hedeman, who serves as the CBR Ambassador and Chute Boss, believes never giving up and working hard have been the foundation of his success, both as an athlete and a father. Learning from his father, Red Hedeman that you have to work hard at whatever you chose to do in life.

“I have tried to instill in my boys that each of us are responsible for where we end up, for every action they take there is a reaction that will influence their life’s goals and future. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own success and happiness,” said Hedeman.

He is instilling this philosophy within his sons, Lane, Trevor and Ryker, much the way he was raised by his father.  

“Dad worked seven days a week in the horse racing industry and took his first vacation when Tuff qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo in 1986,” remembered daughter, Cheryl Hedeman.

“I never had an argument with my Dad, he was a man of few words, while he supported our choices, he let all of us kids (7) know that we are responsible for the choices we make,” continued Tuff. 

Hedeman focuses on teaching his boys there is no excuse for less than one hundred percent effort in anything they endeavored. All of the Hedeman men are all around athletes…. all can rope, play basketball and golf. While the boys weren’t bull riding competitors, they are accomplished horseman. Whether roping calves, steers, riding cutting horses, or working as safety men at CBR Events the Hedeman boys excelled, while often competing with their Dad.

“I wasn’t more talented or even a pretty bull rider, I just wanted it more than some of the others and I dedicated myself to it, but my bull riding success cannot compete with the dedication and love I have for my three outstanding boys or the pride they bring me,” said Hedeman.

Hedeman makes education a top priority. With Lane recently graduating from Tarleton University in Stephenville and Trevor attending Texas A&M, Hedeman has always wanted his children to have the options a college education offers.


Bulls are Father’s Too!

William Barnett believes in strategy. Cowtown Cartel, contender for CBR bull of the year, is the “anchorman on our team,” said Barnett. He purchased Cowtown as a young calf off a video sale and described him as a slow, gangly calf. But Barnett could see his potential due to his size and substance of bone, saying he knew he would be a big bull. So, Barnett waited, not using him much as a three-year-old and just let him grow. It was when he turned four, Barnett said, that he came into his own.

“He doesn’t quit, he always finishes. They haven’t had a slack trip on him, he is just a good solid contender. I think he’s a world class bull. He has the size, the bone, configuration and the lineage,” stated Barnett.

And his lineage speaks for him. Cowtown Cartel is by Carrillo Cartel, owned by Gilbert and Julie Carrillo and his dam is Cowtown Flash. Barnett attributes part of Cowtown’s success to this bloodline being a “really good mix. He was bred to buck. He has a lot of athletic ability and can jump a six-foot fence,” said Barnett.

As a contender for CBR Bull of the Year, Cowtown has been the high point bull in three events with a 71.43 buck off percentage, with two qualified rides out of seven attempts. One of those rides was at the Tuff Hedeman Vegas Shootout in the semifinal round by Newt Brasfield for 90 points and the second was at the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding in Del Rio, where Brennon Eldred scored 94 points on him. Both times he was ridden the rider won the event. Barnett said he can be 90 points most every time and usually is only ridden about three seconds.

When interviewed after his match with Cowtown Cartel, Eldred stated “…he fit me best and he was the rankest bull in there… so to win I had to pick the rankest, you have to pick the best.”

So, Barnett’s strategy is to use Cowtown Cartel later this year to breed as he thinks he will make a good breeding bull and continue the legacy of high performing bucking bulls.


 --By Janette Halliday

Pictured, top to bottom: Tuff Hedeman, and son, Robert Lane. Newt Brasfield and son, Briar. Corey Bailey on Carillo Cartel. Brennon Eldred on Cowtown Cartel. Photos by Brewer