Local rodeo star to appear during Boots, Brews & BBQ

Local rodeo star Wesley Grubbs will be one of the featured guests during the third annual Boots, Brews and BBQ at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Saturday, Sept. 17. The family-friendly event will take place in conjunction with the evening racing program that begins at 6:05 p.m.

Wes Grubbs, graduate of Triton Central High School in Fairland, Ind., will make a special guest appearance during the third annual Boots, Brews & BBQ Saturday, Sept. 17. (Photo provided)

Wes Grubbs, graduate of Triton Central High School in Fairland, Ind., will make a special guest appearance during the third annual Boots, Brews & BBQ Saturday, Sept. 17. (Photo provided)

Grubbs, a graduate of Triton Central High School, was a standout on the high school circuit. His success began in 2009 when he was named Southern Indiana Junior Rodeo Rookie of the Year, followed by Reserve Grand Champion Bull Rider in 2010 and Grand Champion Bull Rider in 2012. He has always loved saddle bronc riding and competed in the Kentucky High School Invitational his senior year, winning the Saddle Bronc Championship.

Grubbs’ skills in the rodeo ring didn’t go unrecognized. He was approached to turn pro following his high school graduation and a great opportunity provided him the chance to get involved. In 2015, he was a Southern Extreme Bull Riders Association (SEBRA) Saddle Bronc Rider National Finalist. In addition, he was a top five finisher in the Spartan Stampede held at Michigan State University earlier this year.

When asked about his experience so far as a professional rodeo participant, Grubbs said, “I would have to say traveling the country and meeting all of the amazing people that have helped me and others to be the best they can be along the way is the most memorable thing so far. Winning a state championship in bronc riding is just a bonus.”

Grubbs has had an interest in horses and riding from a young age. He started off like most kids at local arenas in competitions from barrels and poles, working his way up to getting on horses and bulls.

“Shoot, I reckon I was put on this earth to be a rodeo athlete,” said Grubbs. “From day one, that’s what I wanted to do. I’ve always loved it.”

Inspiration for Grubbs has come in the form of watching his idol, J.B. Mauney, a two-time world champion and known for being the only rider to stay on the famed bull, Bushwacker, for a full eight seconds.

“J.B. Mauney by far is my idol when it comes to rodeo,” said Grubbs. “The way he handles himself in and out of the arena is truly amazing. He is one of the greatest rodeo athletes to ever live and if you talked to him, you’d never know it.”

Grubbs is currently sidelined with an injury sustained while riding in an event in August, but he is sure to be back on the circuit as soon as he gets the okay from the doctor. He has handled everything that has been thrown his way like a pro since stepping up to the big leagues.

“I haven’t really been surprised because I knew it was coming, but just the level of competition stepped up and the good competitors increased, obviously,” said Grubbs. “I’m a little fish in a big sea all over again. It’s like the freshman year, and I gotta work my way up the ranks again. I just want to be the best I can be and to help others to be the best they can be.”

Grubbs will be available for autographs trackside from 7-8 p.m. The evening will also include a mechanical bull and rodeo roper. Grubbs plans to give some tutorials and provide information on riding following his meet and greet session. The evening will also include country music, line dancing, face painting and bounce house for kids 12 and under, barbeque and brew specials and strolling cowboys. Admission and parking are always free at Indiana Grand, and guests of all ages are invited to attend on the racing side at Indiana Grand.

Also, the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) will provide a drawing for two iPads during the night. They will also offer free books on horse racing from their booth outside the winner’s circle. In addition, Miss Indiana Derby, Gracie Lyons, will make a special appearance during the evening activities.