Julie Carter is a New Mexico writer and author whose column appears weekly on Rio Grande Digital.
He’s always polite, perpetually humble – with perfect manners and a country-boy look that tends to contradict the inevitable explosion of athletic skill that detonates at the crack of a bucking chute gate.
Corona, N.M.’s Taos Muncy, 24, has once again put the world of rodeo titles under siege. It’s just how he does things.
Taos ended his 2011 regular rodeo season leading the professional rodeo saddle bronc standings on both sides of the Canadian border – for the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and CPRA (Canadian Professional Rodeo Association).
In November, he, along with wife Marissa and baby daughter Marley, made the drive to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he competed in and won the Canadian National Finals in the saddle bronc riding.
The championship title came down to the wire, also Taos’s style. He won the Canadian title on the last horse on the last day, once again putting Corona, N.M., on the map, but this time in a foreign country.
Except for his trips to the Calgary Stampede which he won in 2009, Taos had never rodeoed in Canada before. However, he was talked into it by his brother-in-law and saddle bronc rider Cody Taton. Cody, transplanted from South Dakota to New Mexico, didn’t qualify for the Canadian Finals this year but had twice before.
Taos picked up $16,000 over the Fourth of July in Canada and decided to make a run at the finals. When he qualified, he was sitting in first place with only a $4,600 dollar lead.
As this story goes to print, Taos has started on his quest for yet another world title, his second on this side of the border, at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals in Las Vegas, Nev. He sits in first place in the standings with a narrow margin of $7,500 over second place and 10 of the toughest broncs away from a world title.
In 2007, his second on the pro circuit, Taos became the third competitor ever to win the College National Finals rodeo and a PRCA World Championship (the youngest to ever claim that title in the saddlebronc riding) in the same year. That historical accomplishment was embellished by winning Cheyenne Frontier Days that year along the way.
He missed qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2008 due to a broken leg and in spite of another leg break early in 2009, he qualified and did so again in 2010.
Prior to making his name at the Canadian Finals this fall, Taos picked up another title closer to home by winning the Turquoise Circuit for the year.
While most of Taos’ titles involve broncs and buckles, he wears a few others that round out the package of who Taos Muncy is.
He first is a son and brother in a close knit rodeo and ranching family that are as grassroots and down to earth as you will ever find. He also answers to two new titles he earned this year that give depth and completeness to his very normal life at the ranch –husband and daddy.
When he comes off the rodeo road, he easily slides back into the duties of a ranch cowboy — checking waters, breaking ice, branding cattle, feeding, fixing fence and the endless list of other regular ranch duties.
And just before he gets ready to hit the road to Las Vegas, the tiny Corona community comes together for a potluck sendoff, complete with “Good Luck” posters from the school kids and never-ending well wishes.
It’s where he started out and where he’ll return. His map is one of a road to glory, but his inner GPS will always bring him home to the ranch.
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at http://julie-carter.com/.