KEEPING THE TRADITION GOING
By Mike Francingues Sidney Herald
As the rodeo business often is, Brookman Rodeo, a Sidney staple for the better part of a half century, continues to be a family-run business that brings excitement and entertainment to the area.
“It started with my grandfather,” said owner Cathy Wieferich, who now runs the business with her husband, Dave. “When he was a kid he worked for the CBCs. He built up his own herd and was producing them for many years.”
Cathy’s grandfather, Marvin Brookman, raised some of the best bucking horses around for many years. He was even inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., in July of 2005.
Cathy and Dave took over ranch operations in 2006 when her grandfather passed after suffering a stroke. The tradition lives on through them.
“We had goals when Marvin died,” Dave said. “Our first goal was to get him in the Rodeo Hall of Fame, and we achieved that. Second was to keep going and make it sustainable, and we’ve done that. Now, the third stage is working on the breeding program. We’re real excited about where our animals are going and what we’re raising now.”
Dave and Cathy’s children are also carrying on the tradition, helping out on the ranch and riding in events of their own. When Dave and Cathy aren’t out on the ranch or in the arena, Cathy can be found in the classroom where she works as a teacher and Dave runs a crane business. But the rodeo is where their heart is.
“It’s our get away,” Dave said. “The whole family can go in the summertime...You can go anywhere in the U.S. and know somebody from that town. The traveling and the excitement of putting on a good rodeo, hearing the crowd roar. It’s the complete package of it all.”
Brookman Rodeo handles just about every part of setting up rodeos. From raising and supplying the animals to hiring timers and clowns, Brookman has it covered. They even provide their own sound systems for the events.
“Horses we pretty much raise ourselves,” Cathy said. “We have a bull partner who helps us with the bulls.”
The company hosts eight of its own rodeos in the area every year, not to mention setting up for the Richland County Fair and Rodeo, coming up the week of Aug. 3. Cathy said the event is one of her favorite of the year.
“It’s one of our better rodeos for sure,” Cathy said. “We try to do the very best we can because it’s our hometown and we wouldn’t want to let everyone down. It’s not very far away now.”
Despite the slower winters, there is no off season when you raise animals. They rent their animals to rodeos in the southern U.S. during the winter and year-round care is needed for these special animals, which unlike your typical riding horses and beef cattle, are not so easy to handle.
“They’re born and bred to buck,” Cathy said.
“You want the kick, the attitude and the mind to go out there and like it,” added Dave. “Every one of them (horses) has an individual personality, like a person. It’s fun to figure them out. Some of them you never do, just like people.”
Even with all the technicalities of setting up events, they said, taking care of animals is still the hardest part, from the daily routine of feeding to the more severe instances.
“One horse was kind of a special horse,” Cathy said, speaking of their horse Kid Rock. “About a year ago we almost lost him. He got really thin and was having a hard time eating.”
The horse had a 5-inch tooth that was rotting in the back of its mouth, slowly poisoning the animal. They took it a vet in Nebraska to remove the tooth.
“They gave him an anesthetic to help knock it out, you know he’s not gentle or anything,” Cathy recalled. “He took a couple deep sighs and then took his last breath.”
Fortunately, the vet was able to revive the horse.
“Now he’s one of our best horses!” she exclaimed. “We’re hoping he makes it to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo), and we’re shooting for top saddle bronc horse of the world.”