Broc Cresta loved rodeo from an early age. As a youngster, he began practice roping any animal he could find around the family's Sonoma County ranch.
Cresta, a rising team-roping star in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, died Saturday in his living quarters trailer at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming. A cause hasn't been determined. He was 25.
Services are Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.
Born and raised in Sonoma County, Cresta followed in his father, grandfather and uncles' footsteps in his love of rodeo.
"Our first pair of shoes weren't shoes, they were boots," said his older brother, Brent of Santa Rosa. "It was just a way of life. There are people that drive race cars, people who play football. We rode horses and we roped and that's all we ever knew."
Cresta's grandfather, William, raised horses for the sport and owned a champion steer wrestling horse. His father and uncle wrestled steers on the pro circuit and he competed in team roping with his brother. His parents, Dan Cresta and Kelline Balistreri of Santa Rosa, owned Mexican Corriente cattle and organized roping jackpot competitions all over California.
As a youth Cresta was so good that he was traveling the country competing in rodeo events. He was missing so much school, he enrolled in an independent study program at Santa Rosa High School to complete his graduation requirements.
He turned pro two years later. With his team roping partner he won several rodeos in California this year, including those in Redding, Livermore, Oakdale, Bakersfield and Marysville, and one in Eugene, Ore.
In 2007, Cresta was the 2007 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rookie Heeler of the Year, and he competed in the past two Wrangler National Finals Rodeos.
At the time of his death, he was ranked 14th among heelers in the world team-roping standings, the highest-ranking for a Californian. He finished 12th overall last year.