Broc Cresta, who grew up in Santa Rosa and went on to become one of the nation's best steer ropers, was found dead this morning in a trailer at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming. He was 25.
Cause of death is undetermined.
Cresta's roping partner and long-time friend, Spencer Mitchell, said the two had competed Friday in the Cheyenne event, then shared a beer at Cresta's trailer afterward. Cresta had then left to watch a concert with his girlfriend.
When Mitchell called on Cresta this morning, he and the girlfriend were asleep. She soon emerged from the trailer and chatted with Mitchell. About 11 a.m. (MST), she went in to wake Cresta.
"She started screaming," Mitchell said from Cheyenne. "And that's when I ran to get help."
Cresta, apparently in good health just hours earlier, was pronounced dead.
"The whole rodeo world is in shock," said Kendra Santos, director of communications for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
"My phone's been ringing off the wall all day with calls from Hall of Famers on down to little kids. Broc's a fourth-generation cowboy in California, and everybody loves him. It's hard enough to lose a good cowboy when he's 90, but losing such a talented and genuinely good person at 25 is just about impossible."
Cresta and Mitchell competed in an event known as team roping — Cresta as the heeler and Mitchell as the header. They had been close friends since childhood.
"Most of those who know us don't bother calling us friends," Mitchell said. "We might as well be brothers."