Malden native Will Collier preparing for National High School Finals Rodeo
MALDEN, Mo. (KFVS) - Steer wrestling is Will Collier’s passion.
After earning reserve champion at the 2023 Missouri High School State Finals, Collier clinched his third consecutive trip to the National High School Finals Rodeo.
“I’m going in there with the right mindset,” said Collier. “I know I can do it, but I have to believe I can do it. Don’t get in my head. Don’t get nervous. Just go back to the basics and do what’s right.”
Collier won State Champion at the 2022 State Finals and placed third in 2021 to earn his first two spots at Nationals. Collier’s experience on the biggest stages is helping him prepare for this year’s trip to Gillette, Wyo.
“It helps a lot being under pressure,” Collier said. “The main thing competing in that is consistency...You need to catch every steer and throw them all. Once you’re there you have to relax and take it in.”
All of Collier’s success has come quickly. He only began steer wrestling competitively three years ago.
“Once I did it, I just fell in love with it,” Collier said. “I never caught a steer until I was at my first high school rodeo. It just kind of happened, I won the rodeo, and I was like alright I could get used to this.”
Rodeo is in the Collier’s genes. Will’s father Patrick is a former professional bronc rider and now serves as Will’s coach. However, he never wanted to force Will into the sport.
“I never wanted to push (Will) because I didn’t him to (try steer chasing) because I wanted him to do it,” said Patrick Collier. “I wanted him to do it because he wanted to.”
“About three years ago we went to my buddy’s practice pen, and (Will) ran four steers and didn’t catch any of them...We got back in the truck and his eyes lit up and he said, ‘that’s what I want to do.’”
Luke Rhodes, a former steer wrestler at Missouri Valley College and now good friend of Will’s, has helped him train.
“The first time I met (Will) was when he was just getting started,” said Rhodes. “We practiced over at a barn west of here in the winter and he was absolutely just getting drug around, but he never quit.”
Will’s parents built a practice arena in their backyard to help him work on his craft.
“We had nothing to begin with,” said Monica Collier, Will’s mother. “We built fence, and just worked, and little by little just did what we could to support him.
Monica also organizes donations for Will from the surrounding community, something the Colliers say they are extremely thankful for.
Will has an army of support behind him, and they are all heading for the National High School Finals Rodeo from July 16-22 in Gillette, Wyo. to cheer him on.
“They’ve kept me going, kept me uplifted,” said Will Collier. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Copyright 2023 KFVS. All rights reserved.