Belt buckles are a symbol of success in rodeo circles. And, as rodeo coach for Weatherford College, Mike Brown enjoyed much success - and made many friends.
Brown was honored recently with a silver belt buckle during a meeting of the Weatherford College Rodeo Booster Club. It commemorated his long service to the school, including rodeo from 1983-2012.
“When I walked in and saw my family here I knew something was up,” said Brown with a smile. “This is pretty special.”
But then, Brown, who stepped down from coaching this season to focus on the classroom, has spent most of his life making others feel special. He still works as an agriculture teacher at WC, but he can always be found playing with or cheering on one of his grandkids.
“I watched my granddaughter pitch seven softball games in one weekend,” he said. “That was great.”
For all the people Brown has made feel great over the years, Sunday evening was a way to say thanks.
“I’ve been here 35 years and I’ve known Mike a long time. Along with what he’s done for the rodeo program, he’s been a really good friend,” said WC athletic director Bob McKinley.
That was the dominant theme of the evening, while Brown’s coaching record was superb; his ability to just be a friend to everyone was greater.
As he took the rodeo program from a club sport to a part of the WC athletic program, over the past eight seasons it gained national acclaim. He sent a competitor to the College National Finals Rodeo each season, and even produced a pair of national champions with Cody Tew in 2007 and Arena Roberson in 2008.
The buckle Brown received Sunday night had a pair of stones in it, one for each national champion. It also had engraved “1983-2012.”