SHERIDAN — Many cowboys don them, and they all have a unique look. Chaps help to protect cowboys’ legs against rough stock during competitions.
A couple weekends ago in Clovis, California, rodeo fans saw one-of-a-kind chaps for the first time. As Sheridan native Devan Reilly competed in bareback, he wore his new Sheridan WYO Rodeo chaps.
The unique cowboy leg apparel represents just a portion of the relationship between the WYO Rodeo and its native son. The local rodeo is sponsoring Reilly and in return, he is promoting his favorite competition across the continent.
“Devan has been doing really well, and we just wanted to help him down the road and get to the Nationals Finals Rodeo, and let him promote the WYO Rodeo at the same time,” said Nick Siddle, Sheridan WYO Rodeo board president.
Reilly has done promotional videos for the Sheridan WYO Rodeo in the past. He has, on more than one occasion, stated his love for the local rodeo and what it means to suit up and ride a bareback horse inside the arena of the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.
Reilly’s passion for the WYO Rodeo sparked an idea for the rodeo board. How can the two parties help one another? What was the best way to spread the word about one of the premier rodeos in the Equality State?
That’s where Jory Zurcher came into play. Zurcher is a former saddle bronc rider and an art teacher in Buffalo.
He’s a self-taught leather worker and drew up a design for some custom chaps for Reilly.
Reilly’s initial vision for the chaps were to incorporate a poster from the 1931 Sheridan WYO Rodeo. The poster detailed a one-eyed black horse named Funeral Wagon, bucking a cowboy off its back.
That design is woven into the primarily black chaps. The rest of the chaps have some red leather, floral designs and white fringe along the side. The back of the belt says, “Get WYO’d.”
“These chaps are bad to the bone,” Reilly said. “… They look really flashy and look really sharp. Out of all the chaps I’ve seen, I’m very impressed with these ones.”
Reilly put the chaps to the test for the first time at the Clovis Rodeo April 26-28. Reilly will now wear the custom chaps at every competition in an effort to increase the exposure of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
Along with donning the cowboy leg apparel, Reilly also talks up his hometown rodeo whenever he can. If he’s doing a live TV interview, he’ll mention the WYO Rodeo. Reilly also weaves the WYO Rodeo into Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts.
“I really do think a lot about this rodeo because I’ve been to it since I was a little kid,” Reilly said. “I love the support, and to showcase my love for that rodeo. Hopefully it draws more people to buy tickets to come see it.”
In return, the Sheridan WYO Rodeo will help Reilly with travel costs, so he can attend plenty of competitions in pursuit of the NFR.
Currently, Reilly has accumulated $11,429.46 and ranks 44th in bareback.