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Wanblee's Shayne Porch, top rodeo pick-up man

Ten miles southwest of Wanblee, on the south edge of the Badlands of South Dakota is where the 77 Ranch is located.

It is here you will find 2010 Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association Championship Finals Rodeo pick up man Shayne Porch training and developing his string of seasoned and upcoming pick up horses. Porch is a third generation manager of the cattle and horse ranch he and his wife, Heidi, along with their young daughters, Shaylee (two) and Haylee (five months), own in partnership with his parents, Ralph and Diana.

Porch, born and raised on the ranch as the saying goes, knows what it takes to raise and train good ranch horses that will perform in the arena as well. Although he admits that if he finds a good one, he's not afraid to buy him.

"About 50 percent of the horses I pick up on right now are homeraised and the rest are horses I have bought because I saw the potential in them, both as a pick up horse and an all around solid ranch horse."

All around and solid is also a fitting description for Porch. As a youngster he started his rodeo career in the arena steer wrestling, team roping and calf roping at the 4-H and high school level. While in high school he represented South Dakota at the 1993 National High School Finals Rodeo as the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association reserve champion calf roper. That same summer after graduation Porch purchased his first NRCA, South Dakota Rodeo Association and and Indian National Finals Rodeo cards and hit the rodeo trail hard. In 2002 he was rewarded for his efforts, representing the Great Plains Indian Rodeo Association at the prestigious INFR in the steer wrestling.

Porch admits to having always admired good pick up men and their horses. The year 2001 saw him launch his career as a pick up man, utilizing his string of solid, using ranch horses.

"The late Jeff Waln and Waln Rodeo Company gave me my first shot at picking up bucking horses. I will always be grateful to Jeff and Janelle for giving me the opportunity to get started. And I am fortunate that there have been many other stock contractors that have given me the opportunity to gain even more experience."

Since that beginning Porch has been selected to pick up eight consecutive SDHSRA finals rodeos (2003-2010), the SDRA finals in 2008 and 2009 and returned to the INFR in Las Vegas, Nev., as a pick up man five straight years (2005-2009).

This will be his first appearance at the NRCA championship finals rodeo. "I am very honored to be selected by the cowboys," said Porch, "and I am really looking forward to working with Jim Wilson."

Dealing with bucking horses always involves a certain element of danger and risk, never knowing if, or when, a wreck can occur. Porch's feelings on that potential hazard are, "It's always an adrenaline rush when I go in the arena. Fortunately, I have not been in any major wrecks, but always go in knowing anything could happen."

And what about his wife Heidi? How does she handle knowing that at any moment Porch, in his chosen avocation as the bronc riders best friend, could find himself in a serious career or even life threatening wreck in the blink of an eye? "The girls and I enjoy traveling with Shayne and being part of the experience but ... I always get a little nervous when he goes into the arena. I am comforted by the fact that he is always on a good horse that he trusts to help him get the job done. I always know the cowboy will be safe."

Which parallels Porch's philosophy of what it takes to be a good pick up man. "When things get serious in the arena, you have to know you are on something good that you can trust to help you get the job done. You're only as good as the horse you are riding."