Cowboy calling Steamboat home while pursuing pro career |

Cowboy calling Steamboat home while pursuing pro career

Austin Colbert

Colton Onyett competes in the bareback riding event of Saturday's Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series at Brent Romick Arena. Onyett, 19, moved to Colorado a year ago from California and is calling Steamboat home for the summer.

— Colton Onyett didn't have much competition Saturday during the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. Actually, he didn't have any competition and was the only registered bareback rider for the weekend.

This didn't phase the 19-year-old cowboy one bit, as he was happy to take home the weekend pot, whether there were challengers or not.

"It's a little more laid back," Onyett joked about being the only rider. "I get to get on a horse and win some extra money. If anyone is in it, they are entered. If not, who cares? It's their fault, not mine."

A native of Sutter, California, just north of Sacramento, Onyett moved to Colorado a year ago to attend Colorado Northwest Community College in Rangely. His father was also a bareback rider, and Onyett grew up on the back of a horse, riding as an amateur all through high school.

He met CNCC rodeo coach Jed Moore as a high school freshman and kept him in mind as he was pondering his life decisions. As part of the school's rodeo team, he made the College National Rodeo Finals and decided to up his game a notch by going professional this summer.

"I felt like I was finally ready to go pro. And it hasn't failed me yet," Onyett said. "Competition is definitely tougher, for sure. But honestly, it wouldn't have been this hard if I didn't have my injury that I got earlier this year."

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Onyett suffered a minor injury during the first Steamboat rodeo of the season, but has fought through it to remain a constant presence in the series. On the schedule of events, Onyett's hometown is listed as Steamboat Springs, which is partially true. He moved here, temporarily, citing the local rodeo series as his primary reason.

"Figured I'd live in Steamboat. There are 10 pro rodeos right here, and I only need 15, so 10 is pretty easy when you live here," Onyett said. "I just felt like this was a good circuit to rodeo in and didn't really want to leave Colorado. I'm not one of those guys to go back home all the time. I'm all about living out on the road, so I figured this is a good place."

Onyett is working on his associate’s degree at CNCC with the intention of one day becoming a firefighter, although, he is hoping this becomes reality only after he's hit it big as a cowboy. He plans to remain in Steamboat through next summer's rodeo series, but after that, it's anyone's guess.

"I could be here next year. Honestly, I'm not sure. But I might just see where the road takes me," Onyett said. "I'm sure I'll be here all next summer, at least. From there, I'll be moving on, and hopefully, if I do good, I can just rodeo for the rest of my professional career around the country."

The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series only has two more weekends of action in its 10-week schedule. The final shows take place Aug. 14-15 and Aug. 21-22, all 7:30 p.m. starts at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert