Wesley McManus’s rodeo “story” began when he was just five years old-telling his mother that he was going to be a rodeo clown. From that moment on, Wesley knew he wanted to make a career in the rodeo business. As child, Wesley attended a rodeo and watched the stock contractor ride out into the arena and tip his hat as they introduced him, “I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and planned that one day that would be me.” As a youth at play, he would re-enact this scene many times-saddling his horse and riding out into an imaginary grand entry that took place in the hayfield behind his barn. Riding out and tipping his hat to the crowd as the announcer introduced him.
Throughout his youth Wesley was involved in rodeo as a contestant: roping calves and riding steers. When he turned 16 a good friend, Bill Woodward, talked him into riding a bull. This experience prompted Wesley to dabble, off and on, in riding bulls and bucking horses. All of this might have been chalked up to a “phase” or something Wesley would “grow out of” until he turned 18 and began living another of his childhood dreams-fighting bulls.
Wesley discovered his life’s true passion-fighting bulls-through his good friend Kerry “Snowman” Bexley. “Snowman” was a bullfighter from Wesley’s hometown of Lexington, Texas. He took Wesley under his wing,-showing him the “ropes” of bullfighting at the hometown arena. From there Wesley began to grow as a bullfighter, helping “Snowman” at more and more events like the Sunday jackpots at the Kirk’s Four Oaks Arena in Minerva. From then on Wesley was hooked on the rodeo life. He began working as a bullfighter more and more: youth rodeos, open rodeos and bull ridings.
In 1995 Wesley achieved his lifelong goal of becoming a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) bullfighter. As a matter of fact, rodeo great Johnny Boren signed for Wesley to receive his PRCA card. Once he received his PRCA card Wesley fought bulls for many different stock contractors: Rafter G, Frontier, Sammy Andrews, Sammy Catalena, Bad Company Rodeo and the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). In 19 years of fighting bulls Wesley was able to fight bulls in 17 states. Wesley’s career allowed him to work regularly at the legendary Mesquite Championship Rodeo, three times at the George Paul Memorial, twelve times at the Brent Thurman Memorial, Austin X-treme Bulls, and even a performance at the Houston Rodeo. Wesley was twice awarded the “Two Bulls” Protection-Reserve Champion Bullfighter title-an honor he shares with friend and colleague Chris Hammack.
As time passed, Wesley realized that he would not be able to fight bulls in perpetuity. In 2003, wanting to maintain an active role in rodeo, Wesley entered into the bucking bull business. Raising and training bucking bulls turned out to be a highly successful venture for Wesley-he has been fortunate enough to have bucking bulls compete at the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) level as well as the PBR Finals. In 2010 Wesley knew that he still wanted to be more than just a bucking bull stock contractor-it was at this time that Wesley knew that he wanted to take rodeo and bull riding to the next level. This marked the inception of the full-service rodeo stock contractor and production company that we now know as Diamond Cross Rodeo.