Tennessee Travelers

Rhea Webb might want to get used to coming to Las Vegas in December.

Webb arrived in town last week from Byrdstown, Tennessee, along with her sons Cy, 9, and Lane, 16, both of whom are competing in the Junior World Finals at the Vegas Convention Center.

Cy, who won the peewee saddle bronc riding and all-around titles last year, is once again competing in saddle bronc and peewee bareback bronc riding. He’ll ride in the finals of both events Monday before switching to the other end of the Wrangler Rodeo Arena to compete in the 12 and under tie-down roping. Lane is also competing in the tie-down.

As if that weren’t enough to keep the Webbs busy, both boys have been competing in Mike Johnson’s calf roping event – the Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championship – at Horseman’s Park this week.

“We have been running crazy since we’ve been here,” Rhea said. “The calf roping takes place in the morning, and then Cy comes here and he does bareback and saddle bronc. And next week they’ll both be here for the calf roping. We’re here for two weeks.”

Considering what they went through just to get to Vegas, it might be a good thing for the Webbs to stay in one place for a couple weeks.

Rhea hauled the boys and their horses nearly 2,000 miles from their ranch in Tennessee, making a few stops along the way.

Rhea Webb and her son Cy Webb.

“It took us about three days to get here,” Rhea laughed. “We stopped and let my oldest tune up and work on his calf horse a little bit in Mississippi. But we would drive for a few hours and then let them turn their horses out and run around a bit and we would keep driving.”

There were exceptions, however.

“I was trying to make Amarillo, Texas, by about midnight so we could get to a barn and turn the horses out,” Rhea recalled. “But about an hour outside of Amarillo I was getting tired so I stopped at a truck stop, put the truck in neutral and was going to rest my eyes. I woke up four and one-half hours later and the truck was still in neutral.”

Still almost 900 miles from Vegas, Rhea, Cy, Lane and their horses got back on the road. They made it another 800-plus miles before another problem arose.

“We had some truck troubles about an hour outside of Vegas,” Rhea said matter-of-factly, “but we made it here. Right now the truck is in the shop.”

With her truck in the shop, Rhea has been using a rental while relying on the help of the rodeo community at the Junior World Finals.

“It’s hectic,” Rhea admitted. “I’ve been a little nervous about getting back and forth. But there are all kinds of people that I don’t even know that have jumped in to help. My oldest usually helps Cy, but with him roping we’ve had to recruit help.”

One of those who has jumped in to help is Doug Landrum from Soso, Mississippi. Landrum, whose son is competing in senior saddle bronc at the Junior World Finals, has known Cy and Lane since all the boys started rodeoing together three years ago.

“We have friends all over the place,” Landrum said. “Rodeo is just a big family. When you go to a rodeo it’s just like a family reunion.”

Obviously, Rhea Webb is thankful for that extended family while she’s in Vegas, even if she never thought she would be a part of it. Webb and her husband, as well as her parents and her husband’s parents, all own and raise Tennessee Walking Horses.

“Rodeo is nowhere in our past,” Rhea said. “But when my oldest was about 4 someone gave him a rope and he just started roping and he could rope everything. We took them to junior rodeos and they just fell in love with the sport. Now we go all the time.”

While Lane found his passion with roping, Cy fell in love with the adrenaline rush he got from riding mini broncs. Not surprisingly, he proved to be a natural.

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