Rising Star: Cooper Cano, 14-Year-Old Roughstock Cowboy

First, he was told his horse was too big. Then, he decided to just get on the ones that bucked instead. Cooper Cano caught the rodeo bug as a toddler when he rode his horse up to the registration booth at the St. Paul Rodeo and tried to join in on the fun. 

“They told me I needed a horse 56 inches or less,” he remembered. “I looked at my big old boy ‘Gambler’ and ask them, ‘Why do I need a pony when I have a real horse?’” 

He did a little growing up and decided to refocus his attention on the roughstock end of things. While he still competes in some timed events, the roughstock titles have been flowing in. 

“From that day on I told the world I was going to be a bucking bull rider at St. Paul Rodeo,” he said. “When I turned 6 my mom took me to Bishop, California, to a Sankey Pro Rodeo School and the rest is history.”

Cano—who is now a teenager—has been conquering the Oregon State Junior High School Rodeo bareback and saddle-cow events and qualified to compete on larger stages like the National Junior High School Finals and the Junior NFR. 

Cooper Cano

Hometown: Carlton, Oregon

Age: 14

Events: Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Team Roping, Steer Riding, Breakaway Roping

The Rank: currently unranked

How did you get your start in rodeo?

I knew I wanted to be a rodeo cowboy the first time I went to the St. Paul Rodeo at age 3. I rode my horse up to the registration booth and told them I wanted to join. 

They told me I needed a horse 56 inches or less. I looked at my big old boy Gambler and ask them, “Why do I need a pony when I have a real horse?” I asked what else I could do and they told me I could ride calves when I turned 6. 

From that day on I told the world I was going to be a bucking bull rider at St. Paul Rodeo. When I turned 6 my mom took me to Bishop, California, to a Sankey Pro Rodeo School and the rest is history. 

I started riding bucking horses at 9 and by age 11 I was competing at the Mini Bareback World Championship in Las Vegas.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments to date?

  • Oregon State Junior High Bareback Champion 
  • Oregon State Junior High Saddle Cow Champion 
  • National Junior High School Finals Qualifier
  • 3-Time Junior NFR Bareback Qualifier
  • Junior NFR Saddle Bronc Qualifier
  • 2017 Heartland Finals Saddle Bronc Riding Champion 
  • Finished 4th in the National Mini Bareback Riding Tour
  • 2016 Northwest Youth Rodeo Association Reserve Champion Bareback Rider

What do you like to do when you're not competing?

When I’m not competing in rodeo I like to race motocross. I’m an active member of the Mt. Scott Motorcycle Club.

Who is your greatest rodeo mentor?     

I’ve been very blessed to learn from some of the greats like Marvin Garret, Larry Sandvick, and Mark Garrett. Paul Applegarth, Nick LaDuke, and Jeffery Shearer have been a huge help too.

What is your favorite song?

Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire

What is your favorite food?          

Steak and lobster

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