Crash Cooper has been named the barrelman for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, becoming the first Canadian to fill that role in the rodeo’s 53 years.
“I laughed when I heard that it was only going to be myself and barrel racer Lindsay Sears representing Canada at the NFR this year,” Cooper said. “I’m sure all of the rodeo fans at home in Canada are proud; both of their representatives will be wearing makeup at the NFR.”
The NFR barrelman is voted in by all eligible announcers and bullfighters who have participated in at least eight PRCA-approved rodeos with the minimum of 20 total performances.
Having only seen the NFR through the eyes of a fan in the past, Cooper is looking forward to being in the middle of the action.
“I would imagine that it’s got to be pretty cool to roll that barrel out there the first night,” he said. “Everybody has seen those yellow bucking chutes and the packed house there every night; but to be in the center of it looking up will be different and gratifying.”
The 38-year-old cowboy from Senlac, Saskatchewan, is humbled by the chance to perform under the bright lights in Las Vegas.
“I perform for the betterment of the rodeo, not for the betterment of myself,” Cooper said. “I am very appreciative that I was recognized for my work to make the rodeo I’m at better. That has always been my attitude; the rodeo is the show and I’m just a small part of it.”
Although Cooper will be one of only two Canadians at the NFR, he won’t be alone when it comes to Canadian support.
“I’m probably returning the wage I’m being paid with the amount of tickets that were sold to people from Canada to go down there to watch me,” Cooper joked. “There are a lot of people coming; maybe they think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me, but I hope it isn’t.”
Source: ProRodeo Canada website