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Scottsdale’s National Festival of the West

World famous trick rider and trainer, Brian Bausch !

When you think about to some of the great cowboy heroes of all time, your mind probably wanders to Roy Rogers and Gene Autry – the Lone Ranger and Zorro - John Wayne and maybe Joel McCrea. You can probably picture them, riding hard, shooting straight and treating their horses with respect and kindness. Some folks would say they don’t make ‘em like that anymore, but those people haven’t met Brian Bausch.

Brian is the epitome of everything the world “cowboy” stands for, and he rides hard, shoots straight and is a consummate horseman. Already a 6 time overall world champion mounted shooter, Brian Bausch is a world-renowned horse trainer, trick rider, trick roper and fancy gun handler. Along with his wife, Paula and their three kids, Brian Bausch travels the United States and many foreign countries demonstrating his skills, giving clinics and entertaining in the style and spirit of the great cowboys who came before him.

So how did a kid from Kansas get into the cowboy entertainment business? “I always knew I wanted to work around horses, ever since I was a little kid,” Brian readily admits. Raised on a ranch in Kansas, he was working cattle and riding horses at a very early age. He enjoyed the outside work, but more than anything he loved working with horses. “Me and my brother were always daredevils,” Brian says. “So whenever we had the opportunity, we were riding like the devil himself was after us. We’d fall off a lot and pretty soon I began to learn how to do it so I didn’t get hurt.”

Those early lessons in horsemanship got Brian off to a “flying start” when it comes to trick riding. But it took more than falling off to make Brian the horseman he has become. He started training horses at the ripe old age of 8 when he got his first horse, Hobbie – a yearling grade horse. By the time the two had matured (Hobbie was two and Brian was 8), Brian started standing on Hobbie’s back. “It somehow seemed to calm him,” Brian says.

Calm wasn’t what Brian was usually looking for. “My brother and I used to play tag on horseback and we ran after each other in all kinds of terrain – up and down cliffs and hills, weaving through trees – all at a dead run.” That’s when Brian began sliding off his horse to dodge his brother’s tags. Before long he was practicing falls and vaults – all in the name of fun.

In 1995 Hobbie and Brian had the art of trick riding perfected enough to put together a show. The two left the ranch for the first time – destination:. a guest ranch with riding demonstrations and clinics on trust, balance and controlled horsemanship. 1999 Michigan’s big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations where the two provided entertainment He later starred in a Wild West Show.

In 2003 fate took a hand and put Brian Bausch and Paula Swanson together at a mounted shooting competition. Brian had demonstrated shooting from a horse during the Wild West shows and had found an organization dedicated to the sport of Mounted Shooting. Paula was an accomplished horsewoman and well-known barrel racer, who had found success and fun in the mounted shooting arena. The two met and fell in love. They married in 2005 and now have three children.

But it is more than talent that keeps Brian Bausch in the saddle, training horses and traveling the world with his trick riding and training demonstrations. A deep faith, and perhaps more importantly, trust in God’s will, drives Brian to stick with his life as a cowboy. “I’ve been fortunate to earn a living training horses. It’s something I love and every day they bring countless blessings to my life.”

You’ll see Brian Bausch galloping around the National Festival of the West arena performing a variety of stunts including flips, rope tricks on horseback, trick shooting.(all the stunts without an arena) Watch for him too on the stages performing his fancy gun handling and trick roping. Don’t hesitate to walk up and shake Brian’s hand. He’s a friendly young man who enjoys talking with people about horses, guns, his faith in God .

Scottsdale’s National Festival of the West annually attracts 40,000 people who delight in reliving the days of “yesteryear” throughout the four-day salute to all things Western.

“Scottsdale’s National Festival of the West is a true celebration of the culture and heritage of the American West,” said founder, Mary Brown. “I like bringing together people who live the Code of the West, those whose word is their bond. That’s a wonderful way to live.”

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