Although he joined the CBR just after his 18th birthday in January,
Reece Cates was already a veteran bull rider. Shortly after getting his
CBR card Cates competed in his first CBR event in Bossier City, La.
Prior to joining the CBR Cates won the North American Bull Riders
championship in 2006, and was that organization's Rookie of the Year.
Cates, who graduated from Parkers Chapel High School near El Dorado
in May, recently won his third consecutive Arkansas High School Rodeo
Association bull riding championship and finished fourth in the recent
National High School Finals Rodeo.
After finishing third at the NHSFR in 2006, Cates had hoped to bring home
the title this year, and was a little disappointed with his fourth place finish.
Cates said he didn't have a very good draw in the first round or in the short go.
"I had a good draw in the second round," Cates said. He finished one spot ahead
of his friend, former high school rodeo teammate and sometime traveling partner,
Cates begin his riding career at an early age on sheep and calves, following
in the footsteps of his father, bull rider Paul Cates. Reece was nine when his
father was tragically killed in a chuck wagon accident.
Reece began competing in high school rodeo in his freshman year and qualified
for his first NHSFR in his sophomore year and returned again as a junior in 2006.
Cates was also selected as a member of the Wrangler All-Star High School Rodeo team.
Cates, who has not been home to El Dorado since June, is traveling around the
country to bull riding events, and "just having fun," he said. Cates will be settling
in Carthage, Texas in a few weeks where he will be a freshman at Panola County
Community College and competing on their rodeo team coached by Travis Adams,
who is also from Arkansas. In addition to coaching rodeo Adams is one of the best
bullfighters in the country and was in the arena protecting the riders at the 2006 CBR
Finals in Las Vegas.
Adams is happy to add Cates to his team. "We are really excited to get Reece at
Panola College," Adams said. "He seems to be a quality young man and will be
an asset to the rodeo. I am really excited to get Reece since I grew up in Arkansas.
Adams said he has seen Cates a number of times since he joined the professional ranks.
"He was pressing quite a bit (with his riding) until the Fourth of July weekend in
Springdale (Ark.) where he was 91 points and made one of the best rides I have seen
this year," Adams added. "I think Reece will be one of the great champions in his own
right and will help Panola and its future rodeo athletes. We are really excited to have Reece."
Cates has had a lot of support from the Parkers Chapel community during his high school
career. The Parkers Chapel School was proud when Cates won the NABA championship
according to the high school principal, Mike LaRue. "He really takes his bull riding seriously,"
LaRue said of Cates after that win. "We're all proud of him at the school."
While in high school Cates worked with pro bull rider Sam Medlock, who now makes
his home in El Dorado. Cates has the style to ride a lot of different types of bulls, is
proactive and doesn't wait for something to happen when he is riding, according to
Medlock, and just has a natural talent.
Cates has not been home to El Dorado since June, but is traveling around the country
riding bulls and "just having fun," he said.
Cates has spent a lot of time practicing his sport at the home of stock contractor Scott
Burris in Bradford, a community near Searcy, Ark. "He's a good kid, one of the best
I've seen in a long time," Burris said. "He's polite, has good manners, and will help
you do anything. There are not many (teens) like him these days. "He's the real deal."
by Susan Graham