The Daily Iowan

A bucking-bronco bond

The Johnson County Fair brings Sandburr Rodeo Productions to Iowa City, and with it, a story about two boys who became best friends during 10 years of weekend rodeo competitions across Iowa.

Brooke Clayton, [email protected]

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TJ Moore and Wyatt Wegener are a year apart in age and around 50 miles in distance, when they’re actually living in the Iowa towns of Lisbon and DeWitt, respectively. But for these best friends, the road is often home, and family means more than just who shares your DNA. Being a cowboy is in both of their genes.

“Ever since I could walk and talk, my parents said I [wanted to] be a cowboy, so, I guess, I’m just trying to live the dream now,” Wegener said.

After competing in the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, that dream is starting to look a lot like reality. To even attend the event, both boys had to place in the top four for their event in Iowa.

Success in the rodeo business is a long road, literally. With no other competitors in their high schools, the two spent their childhoods traveling miles on miles every weekend for rodeo competitions across the state.

“We met when we were, what, 7?” Wegener said, asking Moore. “Eight? Ever since then, we’ve just been hanging out about every weekend together, and when you hang out with someone, you’ll have ups and downs with him, you’ll fight, and then you’ll get along. It’s just like a family, you know.”

Wegener brought his own family into the world of rodeo, but for Moore, it had always been his parents’ passion as well. The family owns Sandburr Rodeo Productions Inc., based in Lisbon, and it will host the rodeo at the Johnson County Fair this week.

“My dad used to ride bucking horse, too, and my mom used to barrel race,” he said. “Ever since I was like 3 or 4, I’d be getting on steers and sheep and just movin’ my way through the ranks as I got older.

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