Lifelong Stamford rodeo participants, father/son duo look to win dad’s 5th saddle in as many decades


STAMFORD, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford was founded 91 years ago, and one Goree, Texas native has competed in more than one-third of them.

Brand Cude has competed in 37 straight Cowboy Reunion rodeos, but says he fell in love with the arena way before then.

“When I was younger, I competed in the calf roping, team roping and double mugging,” Cude said.

Double mugging, which is very similar to calf roping, is where two contestants flank, rope and tie a steer. Cude said it’s a seldom-seen event these days.

Over his nearly 40 years in the rodeo arena, Brand Cude has seen his fair share of success double mugging, too.

“I won my first saddle here [in Stamford] in 1989, and have won a saddle in each of the previous four decades,” Cude said.

With the passing of each decade, he’s seen roping partners come and go, but now the 57-year-old gets to do something not many people get to do: rope alongside his son.

His son Ryder, 26, hasn’t missed a Texas Cowboy Reunion since he was born.

“I was here when I was in my mother’s belly,” Ryder said. “I’m 26 years old now, and this is my 27th rodeo in Stamford.”

Ryder said that he grew up in the arena with his mother and father, falling in love with rodeo at an early age, and now gets to saddle up next to the man who taught him so much.

“It’s awful special to back in that box on Saturday night beside my dad,” Ryder said.

With Brand’s rodeo success and Ryder’s youth, the father/son duo are not just looking to compete, they strive to win. A win that would give Brand his fifth saddle in five decades.

“We’ve finished well in the past,” Ryder said. “But we haven’t ever won, so hopefully this is our year.”

Both Brand and Ryder agree, though, that at the end of the day when they’re putting their horses back in their trailer, it’s the father/son bond that matters most.

“A family that rodeos together, stays together,” Brand said.

But Brand and Ryder aren’t the only father-son duo competing in the double mugging, as they say the horses they’re riding are also a father/son duo.

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