Abilene, Kan. — Retired pro rodeo bullfighter Dustin Brewer is the feature on the 2022 Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo buckle.
The Prairie du Chien, Wis. man, a native of Elk City, Okla., worked as a bullfighter at the Abilene rodeo fifteen years, starting in 2000, with a year off in 2002 due to a knee injury, then through 2015.
His career began when he tagged along as his older sisters competed in Little Britches Rodeo. He rode bareback horses and bulls in high school, and it was in the practice pen where his talent became evident.
A bull rider got hung up, Brewer recalls, “and I stepped in, got him out, never got touched (by the bull) and thought that was pretty cool.”
Throughout his 27-year career, Brewer worked the Abilene rodeo and other major rodeos including Tucson, Ariz.; Greeley, Colo.; Oakley, Utah; Salt Lake City, and many others like Elk City, Okla., Sikeston, Mo., Burwell, Neb., and Manhattan, Kan.
He also competed in the Wrangler Bullfights, and in 2000, was ranked fourth in the Bullfights when he broke a leg during the Bullfights in Sikeston, ending his chance of competing at the National Finals Rodeo that year.
Brewer loved coming to Abilene. “As soon as you pulled into those gates,” he said, “everyone greeted you, and if they weren’t there, as soon as they came, they greeted you. At some rodeos, you might have three or four people you connect with. In Abilene, you connected with everybody.”
He and his wife Tarra married in Abilene in 2004, because he was so close to committee members. Abilene “was one of the rodeos that was more like family. You weren’t going just to a rodeo, you were going to a family reunion. That’s just how the rodeo committee made you feel.”
The committee loved working with him, said Jerry Marsteller, rodeo committee chair. “He was with us for fifteen years and did one hell of a job. And he said, you guys here aren’t just friends, you’re family. That’s how we consider Dustin and his family.”
Brewer was honored to be included with such greats as Lecile Harris, Mike Mathis, Gerald Roberts, and other rodeo legends who have been on buckles. “Even just to be considered is an honor,” he said. “You have people (on the buckles) that are highly thought of in rodeo, and not just in Abilene but in the world. So to be on one, is pretty amazing, really.”
He and his wife Tarra and sons Brogan and Brylee will be in Abilene for this year’s rodeo.
Brewer’s likeness on the buckle is the sixth in the fifth series. The buckle collection started in 1989.
The annual buckle auction for the rodeo will be held Monday, August 1 at the historic Shockey and Landes Building in Abilene at 324 North Broadway. Buckles numbered one through ten and number 500 will be auctioned off.
Social hour for the auction begins at 7 pm, with the auction to follow at 7:30 pm. The rodeo takes place August 3-6 at 7:30 pm each night in Abilene at Eisenhower Park. For more information, visit www.WildBillHickokRodeo.com
1989 – Bruce Miller, saddle bronc riding
1990 – Cary Bryant, calf roping
1991 – Jon Greenough, bareback riding
1992 – Tracy Brunner, steer wrestling
1993 – Donna Samples, barrel racing
1994 – Paul Whitehair, bull riding
1995 – 50th anniversary of the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo
1996 – Gerald Roberts, saddle bronc riding
1997 – Phil Bryant, calf roping
1998 – Mark Brunner, bareback riding
1999 – Jim Janke, steer wrestling
2000 – Guy Winters, Sr. and Guy Winters, Jr. team roping
2001 – Stacy Krueger, barrel racing
2002 – John McDonald, bull riding
2003 – Steve Davis, bareback riding
2004 – Ty Brant, calf roping
2005 – Jared Roberts, saddle bronc riding
2006 – Bob Pound, steer wrestling
2007 – Scott Bankes and Billy Randle, team roping
2008 – Shaleigh Smith, barrel racing
2009 – Geff Dawson, bull riding
2010 – Jerry Short, bareback riding
2011 – Wayne Bailey, steer wrestling
2012 – Keegan Knox, saddle bronc riding
2013- Duane Carson, tie-down roping
2014 – Karl Langvardt and Steve Zumbrunn, team roping
2015 – Micah Samples, barrel racing
2016 – Jimmy Crowther, bull riding
2017 – Glen Dawson, bareback rider
2018 – Andrews Rodeo Co., stock contractor
2019 – Mike Mathis, rodeo announcer
2020 – 75th anniversary buckle (no rodeo due to Covid)
2021 – Lecile Harris, rodeo clown and specialty act
2022 – Dustin Brewer, bullfighter