Custom saddle stolen from top-ranked cowboy

FRESNO, Calif.

The cowboy, Uhuru Adem, had his gear stolen along with a friend's truck over the weekend. Adem will compete at the college rodeo. But he's not sure how well he'll perform without his custom saddle.

"It's a big deal," Adem said. "But I don't really have a choice right now. I'm just going to not try to think about it too much."

Adem is a student at Fresno State. This cowboy is sitting in first place for the west coast region in college saddle bronco riding.

"His big dream is to make it to nationals," said Kelsey Hayden. "He's got a really good shot. He's really talented. Every body's got their hopes in this kid."

The saddle and Adem's rigging bag, with his boots, spurs and other gear was taken along this street in Clovis.

The gear was in a friend's truck parked outside a bar overnight. By morning, everything was gone.

"I was thinking about this rodeo that we got coming up tomorrow," Adem said. "And what I was going to do, I was just thinking about what I was going to do to fix it."

"He's kind of in a catch-22 at this point," said Adem's coach Art Parham. "He has to get on tomorrow night. We're going to get him a saddle to ride tomorrow night, but it may not be right. Life would be a lot easier for him, if he could get ahold of his saddle."

Adem's coach says his teammates in the Bulldoggers Rodeo Club are trying to help him get a new saddle. But it won't be soon enough for the next few critical competitions.

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