Quesenberry living out faith during all life’s rides

Rita LeBleu

Winston Quesenberry knows life’s rough rides might last more than eight seconds, and dealing with the unexpected takes more than rosin and spurs. The 30-year-old from Virginia grew up on the rodeo circuit and enjoyed some success. He has the titles under his belt — as well as dinner-plate-sized belt buckles — to prove it. He’s rated ninth in the Southeastern Circuit for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. But it wasn’t until he was 18 and went away to college 25 hours from home that he “accepted Christ,” he said. That is when he learned his identity wasn’t rooted in rodeo.  

He didn’t realize it at the time, but living out his faith would put him in the perfect place at the perfect time.

“I had expressed my desire to minister to my pastors at The River, Kevin and Elizabeth Burns,” Quesenberry said. “They serve on a board with Steve Sanford, Southwest Louisiana Fellowship of Christian Athletes director and chaplain for the McNeese Cowboys. Steve asked me if I thought the McNeese Rodeo Team would be interested in having a Bible study. The Rodeo Team had never participated in FCA and I told him I would love to explore it.”

The team showed interest, even though the rodeo dynamic is unlike that of other sports.

“I remember when I was 17, I didn’t want to be referred to as an athlete,” Quesenberry said. “I was a cowboy.”

Unlike the football team with its many coaches, rodeo teams may not have a single coach, though McNeese does, Justin Browning. Forty-five athletes participate in eight different events. Rodeo athletes don’t have the same opportunities, trainers and facilities as other athletes.

But Quesenberry knows all about it. It wasn’t so long ago that he was in their boots.  

“I know what it’s like to have that feeling of a bright future for your rodeo career,” he said, “and I know the struggles. Going away to college for the first time, and especially when you’re far from home, can feel like being thrown out to the sharks. It was hard for me. I didn’t have FCA, and I think back on how that would have felt, to have someone to put their arm around me and remind me that I didn’t have to join in, to cave in to the peer pressure, that there was another way, a better way.”

The FCA model is one that works for all Christians. It helps grow the Christian and grow the Christian community.  

“The goal is to engage, equip and empower,” Quesenberry said. “We want to engage in, and we want others to engage in, a relationship with Jesus, equip them with the Word of God and empower them to be leaders, not followers of the world. FCA helps us discover our identity is in Christ. You don’t have to choose between a relationship with Christ and your sport.”

“The culture of the rodeo community has changed dramatically since the 60s and 70s,” Quesenbery said. “They’re ready for the Word of God and I am excited to be a part of that.”

Quesenberry speaks at churches, rodeos and other events all over the country and can be contacted at358-1134.

To further the efforts of the work of the FCA, visit https://my.fca.org/winstonquesenberry””

Winston Quesenberry spreads the Gospel to coaches, athletes and others through his association with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Quesenberry is shown here winning the short round in the Quebec Festival Western de St-Tite Rodeo.

Special to the American Press

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