Meet two of the cowboys in season 3 of INSP’s Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, Keaton Barger and Joe “Coy” Melancon.
“Top cowboys from across the United States compete to win a herd of cattle, a coveted belt buckle, and a lifetime of bragging rights. This season they go head-to-head in the unforgiving landscape and unpredictable weather of Douglas, Wyoming. The fourteen male and female contestants include ranch owners, ranch managers, viral video cowboys, horse trainers, and rodeo stars. As they lock horns in a series of grueling challenges, they are judged on their skills, knowledge, grit, and heart. One-by-one, the cowboys who don’t perform are eliminated by country music icon Trace Adkins and a panel of expert judges. In the end, only one cowboy rides away with the herd.” per INSP.
How did you become a cowboy? Is this something you grew up with or is this something you got into?
Keaton Barger: I was born into it; the lifestyle is all I have ever known.
Coy Melancon: I was born into it. I don’t know many who aren’t born into it and later become one. It’s either in you, or it’s not.
What does being a cowboy mean to you?
Keaton Barger: It’s like the Luke Combs song, “Doin’ This;” it’s everything! No matter what, I will always be a cowboy.
Coy Melancon: I feel like I am still figuring out exactly what being a cowboy means to me.
What brought you to Ultimate Cowboy Showdown?
Keaton Barger: My parents encouraged me to go for it.
Coy Melancon: I knew someone on the first season and met some contestants from the second season. I jumped in when I saw an ad on Facebook; the rest is history.
What is one lesson you’ve learned from being a cowboy that has stuck with you throughout the years?
Keaton Barger: I strive to be the hardest worker in the room.
Coy Melancon: Don’t panic.
Did you learn anything from the other contestants since you all come from all over the country?
Keaton Barger: I learned a lot from “Diamond Jim,” Buck and Sal. Even though we are all cowboys, there is always an opportunity to learn something new.
Coy Melancon: Yes, I learned a lot from others on the show. Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer is something that stands out.
What was your experience with this competition like?
Keaton Barger: I am very blessed and humbled. I made a lot of great friends and having the opportunity to ride every day, made me feel like myself again.
Coy Melancon: I loved every minute. Watching how it all played out was cool to me.
What events were you most excited for?
Keaton Barger: The pasture roping and the first challenge.
Coy Melancon: One of the coolest things we did was pushing the horses out of the mountains. It’s something I had never done, and I thought it would be cool.
What events were you dreading?
Keaton Barger: None of them; I was ready for anything!
Coy Melancon: The cooking challenge was definitely something I dreaded. We knew it was coming but wasn’t sure when.
Do you have any funny stories from your time on the show?
Keaton Barger: It was the only time you will see me get on all fours to act like a cow!
Coy Melancon: We laughed a lot. The talent show was pretty funny. Honestly, the cooking one turned out to be pretty hilarious as well.
What was your favorite part of the competition?
Keaton Barger: Having the opportunity to compete with some really great people.
Coy Melancon: I really enjoyed the eliminations. They were always so interesting and fun. The suspense was great, and it kept things interesting.
One theme that I’ve seen amongst the cowboy genre is the notion that cowboys are a dying breed. Do you agree with this?
Keaton Barger: Yes, in a world that is all about money not many cowboys can survive off-day working. You have to do what you have to do to provide for your family.
Coy Melancon: To me the art of the cowboy is not the same as it once was. I don’t think cowboys are dying out, but they are dang sure few and far between.
If someone wanted to become a cowboy, what advice would you give them?
Keaton Barger: Be honest, kind, hardworking, and don’t quit until your head hits the ground.
Coy Melancon: Being a cowboy is a mindset. You have to be gritty and want it. Something inside of you has to say you want to go against the grain. If you want it bad enough and get around the right people it can happen.