Colin Fox eager to add U.S. Junior Steer Wrestling title to his accomplishments

CAPTION: Colin Fox of Manvel, Texas is among the top steer wrestlers nationally coming to Marble Falls to compete Sunday, Oct. 9. Fox is an accomplished calf roper and football player among his many talents. Photo by Jennings Rodeo Photography and courtesy of the Texas High School Rodeo Association

Few people question Colin Fox’s toughness.

That’s because the 2021 Texas High School Rodeo Association State Champion Steer Wrestler doesn’t give anyone the chance. He’s too busy displaying it every time he rides into the rodeo arena.

Fox, a Manvel resident, will need every bit of that toughness on Sunday Oct. 9, as one of more 20 steer wrestlers from around the country who are making their way to Marble Falls for the U.S. Junior Steer Wrestling Championship and Leon Bauerle Cowboy Reunion at the Charley Taylor Arena, 3053 U.S. 281. Gates to the event, hosted by The Gunner Thames Memorial Foundation, open at 1 p.m. with festivities beginning at 2 p.m. and steer wrestling starting at 3 p.m. Admission is $10 per vehicle with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Gunner Thames Memorial Foundation. The $10 is a donation and those who can not donate won’t be turned away.

The steer wrestlers coming to Marble Falls have won state championships and competed on circuits located in Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Among those competing include Bertram’s Colton Wilson and Coy Johnston, the reigning World Champion High School Steer Wrestler and a Stapleton, Neb. native.

At the 2021 U.S. Junior Steer Wrestling Championship, Fox lost to eventual champion Clay Clayman in the semifinals.

Fox said he’s been rodeoing for a long time beginning with goat tying at the age of 7 then barrel racing.

“I’ve always enjoyed doing every possible event,” he said. “If you do it, you’re tough. I’ve always taken pride. I’ve always taken pride in being one of the tougher guys out there.”

That’s apparent in the number and type of wins he’s earned: the 2019 Texas State Chute Dogging Champion, the 2020 National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier/Team Texas in Steer Wrestling, and the 2020 Texas High School All-Around Cowboy Rookie of the Year. Though he’s a steer wrestler, he said calf roping is his best event.

“I think calf roping is the most technical in rodeo,” he said. “To make a perfect run, you have to do everything right. Your horses have to be working perfectly. There’s so much that can keep you busy. When I took up calf roping, I fell in love with it.”

He began steer wrestling after meeting and learning from Justin Shaffer, who is the 42nd steer wrestler in the world.

To win a Texas state title in steer wrestling, contestants must have three solid runs. That’s not the case to win at the U.S. Junior Steer Wrestling Championship. All contestants will have a three-round qualifier. Up for grabs is $12,500 in prize money. The top four money winners advance to a four-man match tournament. The top money winner faces the No. 4 money winner in one semifinal, while No. 2 takes on No. 3 in the other. The winners of the semifinals advance to the final.

The champion earns $5,000 and the Reagon Walker Buckle, donated by his Hall of Fame parents Byron and Mary Walker. Reagon Walker, who was one of the most decorated Texas High School rodeo athletes in history, died in an auto accident in 2011.

The reserve champion is awarded $2,500. The contestant with the fastest time of the day in the qualifying rounds or matches receives a $1,000 bonus.

“You have to be on your game all day,” Fox said. “You have to beat two people one-on-one to be the champion. You need to ride your horse hard to ride your best. It’s all about consistency.”

Fox also participates in other sports besides rodeo as a senior at Lutheran South Academy in Houston. He wants to land a scholarship to go to college before turning pro as a rodeo athlete.

“I just love the competition,” he said. “I’ve been playing sports for a long time. In rodeo, you don’t rely on other people. All the hard work you have to do yourself.”

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