Leaderboard: Dean Thompson Dominating Rookie Season

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Taking full advantage of every opportunity his rookie season has presented, 21-year-old Dean Thompson from Altamont, UT has planned on doing everything possible to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2023; and as number 11 in the world standings in bareback riding, he’s already racked up earnings of more than $40,000 so far this year.

Dean Thompson riding in the championship round of The American Rodeo – Photo credit Imagehounds™

“I’d say from the start of last year when I bought my permit, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to push it and do whatever it took to make the finals in 2023,” Thompson said. “I’ve definitely put in enough work now that I expect myself to perform at that level, and I’m just thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the leadership that’s been passed my way to give me the skills and knowledge necessary to get to that point.”

Growth in Rodeo

Thanks to many people throughout Thompson’s childhood, his passion for rodeo grew quickly. Years later when he got to Western Texas College in 2020, he knew that competing professionally was not only something he could do, but something he could do well.

“As a kid, I was getting bareback coaching from my uncle, steer wrestling coaching from Cash Robb’s family and bull riding coaching from the Frost family,” Thompson remembered. “I’d say about the time I decided to college rodeo, I decided that this is what I was going to try and make work. And something in there made me enjoy the fight associated with bareback riding: not the dance like guys talk about in bull riding or the timing that guys talk about in steer wrestling, but that fight is probably what led me more down the bareback riding pathway.”

2023 Season

So far in his rookie season, Thompson has already made a name for himself and is traveling with other top 15 athletes like Jayco Roper and Jacob Lees. Pushing his way through the Contender Tournament, Thompson was one of the final four to compete at The American Rodeo; and just a few months later, he took home the Guymon Pioneer Days win with a 92.5-point ride on New Frontier Rodeo’s Gunfire.

“Going into the summer run, I’d definitely say that the rodeos I can’t miss are the ones close to home and the big, legacy rodeos, like Cheyenne or Pendleton,” Thompson said. “Right now, I’m just starting to build a career, but I’d like to turn it into a legacy like my heroes; so the rodeos I’m going to go to are those that allow me to start building a legacy. From my tiny little town, I have what I think is the best support system and the biggest fan base in pro rodeo; so I like to go wherever I can that my community can watch me in person.”

About the Author

Hannah Crandall

Hannah Crandall, Originally from Earth, Texas, a small town in the Texas panhandle, I was raised around rodeo, agriculture, and the western lifestyle. With a degree from Texas A&M University, I have found a passion for promoting the lifestyle that made me who I am today. I am an experienced writer, marketer, and event professional with a strong desire to share the stories of those in our industry. When I’m not busy seeking out ways to promote the western way of life, I enjoy following those I care about around to rodeos, hunting, and going on runs with my blue-eyed, blue-merle Australian Shepherd.

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