Cable Wareham NHSFR Champion Bronc Rider
There’s only been three National High School Rodeo Association World Champion Saddle Bronc riders from Kansas since 1949 and Cable Wareham, a 2020 graduate of Jackson Heights High School, is one of them.
Wareham won the 2020 NHSRA world title during the national event held at Guthrie, Okla. from July 17-23.
About 1,400 high school rodeo contestants competed in several events such as bareback riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, team roping, goat tying, pole bending, steer wrestling, bull riding, cutting, reined cow horse and shooting sports.
What did he do after he won the world title? He left Guthrie and headed northwest to ride in four more rodeos. He won two of them and was sitting in second place in a third one when he returned home yesterday at about 7:30 a.m.
“It’s starting to sink in,’’ Cable said last evening about the world title. “But I’m about ready to go back to just being the kid from Kansas. I can’t keep my phone charged because I’ve been receiving so many calls and texts.’’
Wareham, son of Rob and Heldi Wareham of the Whiting area, plans to continue his education this fall at Fort Scott Community College and compete in college rodeo.
He already has his “pro-permit,’’ which allows him to compete in some Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos - the big leagues of the rodeo sport.
“Everybody who rodeos wants to compete in the PRCA,’’ Cable said. “I think I’m driven to do bigger and better things.’’
Cable said saddle bronc riding is something he works hard at and enjoys a lot.
“You have to work at it,’’ he said. “I go to a lot of rodeos in the summer.’’
Cable said that while saddle bronc riding is serious business, the better you become at the event, the more fun it is.
“You can help the horse you’re riding,’’ he said. “If you get your feet set at the point of the horse’s shoulder and get a hold of them in their neck, you can help them buck. When you learn how to stay on, it gets fun. It’s like being in a rocking chair up there.’’
In saddle bronc riding, contestants must ride one-handed with a riding rein for eight seconds to receive a score. The rider cannot touch the horse with their free hand. The highest score wins.
Score is based 50 off the horse and 50 off the rider. Feet of the rider must be on point of shoulder when the animal’s front feet hit the ground leaving the chute. If they fail to do that, they’re marked as a no-score.
There are two judges who each can award a maximum 25 points to a horse and 25 points to a rider, Rob Wareham said. A perfect score for a saddle bronc ride - which never happens, Rob says - is 100.
Cable was also the Kansas High School Rodeo Champion saddle bronc rider this year and was runner-up last year. He also competed at the NHSRA rodeo in saddle bronc riding last year but didn’t qualify for the short-go after the first horse he drew didn’t buck very good and the second horse, his dad said, “was way above his pay grade’’ and bucked him off.
In the first round of the competition this year at Guthrie, Wareham drew “a little horse that wasn’t bad’’ his dad said, but the horse stalled coming out of the chute and then started bucking.
“It was a good ride with a 63.5 score,’’ Rob Wareham said. “But Cable was offered a re-ride because the horse had stalled.’’
“I was kind of hesitant to take the re-ride,’’ Cable said. “I was bucked off last year and I kind of had a feeling of déjà vu. They always have good re-ride horses though, so I took it.’’
Rob Wareham said the rodeo arena announcer said Cable must be in the event to win it because his first ride was pretty good and it’s a difficult decision for a lot of competitors to take points off the board and start over.
The re-ride turned out to be a good idea because Cable’s score after that ride (76.5) was good enough to win the round. The horse he drew for the re-ride was a past “horse of the year,’’ his dad said.
After two rounds of competition, the 20 riders with the top 20 aggregate/total scores advance to the final round called “the short go.’’
After the short-go, the winner of the event is determined by the highest aggregate/total score over the three rides.
Cable had a good score in the second round also (66), placing sixth in the round. In the short-go round, his score (74) placed him third.
Wareham then was declared the winner of the saddle bronc event by a huge 19-point margin over about 80 top competitors from across the country. His dad said that “he dominated’’ the competition.
Another saddle bronc competitor from Kansas - Ty Pope of Garnett - took third in the event.
Wareham was awarded about $3,000 in cash and about the same or more in scholarships, along with belt buckles, a cowboy hat, boots and many pairs of “$80 blue jeans,’’ among other things, his dad said.
Rod Wareham admits that it was “kind of hard to watch’’ for him and his wife when Cable was learning how to ride a saddle bronc. He started out in junior high.
“I think it’s the hardest rodeo event to learn. It’s the classic rodeo event. It can take 50 to 100 rides to get good and accidents can happen,’’ Rob said. “We don’t worry so much any more, so long as he texts me and tells me he’s good to go, after each rodeo.’’
Cable says it’s true that he “landed on his head’’ several times when he was learning to saddle bronc ride.
Cable said COVID-19 has caused a lot of the big PRCA rodeos to be canceled this summer, sending a lot of top PRCA competitors to the smaller, amateur rodeos, like the ones that Cable has been competing in. Now, he said, there are starting to be more rodeos scheduled.
“After they canceled the big Fort Worth rodeo, then everything seemed to be canceled, he said.
Cable is counting his blessings - drawing good horses to ride and staying healthy.
“I’ve been lucky,’’ he said. “My only issue has been an ankle injury and I think I’ve figured out how to prevent that.’’
He also said he wanted to thank Cinch and Corral (key national sponsor) and Kansas Farm Bureau (top sponsor for the Kansas High School Rodeo).
Note: At JHHS, Cable also played football and basketball and, as quarterback on the football team, led the Cobras to one of the team’s best seasons ever, reaching the Class 1A state semifinals