By Vanesa Brashier
Coy Melancon, a 28-year-old cowboy and a father of four from Hull, Texas, is the winner of the third season of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, a nationally-aired television show hosted by country music icon Trace Adkins. Melancon, who grew up in Devers, Texas, is the son of Coy Melancon Sr., of Batson, and Joy Hilderbrand of Jasper.
Melancon battled 13 other competitors from across the country. For winning the show, he will receive a herd of cattle valued at $50,000, a belt buckle and bragging rights. While grateful and humbled by winning, Melancon realizes there is a certain element of luck to performing well and winning the show.
“Diamond Jim and Cody Anthony were two true cowboys who were sent home early. They are the real deal. They have seen country – they have put in many a mile on a horse doing things that can’t be covered unless in a saddle, going into backwoods and back country,” Melancon said. “A horse has a mind of its own some days and a cow has no mind at all at times.”
As far as reality TV shows go, Melancon said Ultimate Cowboy Showdown is one of the most authentic shows as it captures real emotions and true interactions between the cowboy contestants.
“They don’t want us interacting with each other outside of the show. They want it all on camera because then it’s real. You get first-hand reactions,” he said.
For a cowboy accustomed to the Texas heat and climate, filming on the set of a Wyoming ranch in the winter was a challenge.
“We were staying in a cattle barn that was 50 degrees inside. It was negative-15 degrees outside. The wind would just blow. Being cold and putting on clothes is different in that kind of wind. It would cut and crawl in no matter what,” Melancon said.
Filming started in late-October, which Melancon recalls as he hit the road for Wyoming the day after the Trinity Valley Exposition’s annual rodeo and fair in Liberty.
“On Saturday night after the TVE rodeo, I went home and packed my clothes, and left for Wyoming. Filming took a total of four weeks,” he said. “I was thinking I was just going to play cowboy for a few days. Once I got there, I was thinking, ‘This country boy has done hit the film set.’ I enjoyed every minute of it. I am a love and live life kind of guy.”
His love of all things cowboy began at a young age. While he confesses to being a “Momma’s boy,” he was his Dad’s sidekick, accompanying him wherever he went, including ranch rodeos.
“My Dad says they weren’t making good help anymore, so he had to train his own,” Melancon said in jest. “People ask me all the time how I became a cowboy. I didn’t become one. I was raised as one. You are born into it most of the time. Either you are a cowboy or you aren’t.”
The TVE rodeos in Liberty will forever hold a special place in Melancon’s heart because it was the first time he watched real cowboys, including his dad and others competing in cow-milking contests and other rodeo events.
“That’s when Liberty County had real cowboys. These guys were tough and weren’t scared of anything. Southeast Texas has a different breed of cowboy, in my opinion. They are tough. You haven’t seen tough cowboys until you see two cowboys going in there and putting their hands on one rank, soggy sucker in a cow-milking contest,” he said with a laugh.
Over the years, Melancon said he has gotten over seeing the drugstore cowboys who don cowboy hats and attire to attend rodeos or to look cool, but could never venture into a thicket or a swamp to rescue a lost cow or sit on a horse for hours on end.
“Everyone, at some point in their lives, has played cowboys and Indians. They buy a cowboy hat and wear it a little while. Cowboys hate it and it makes them made to see someone pretending to be a cowboy. I used to think, ‘Man, I wouldn’t even let you brush my horse. As a matter of fact, I don’t even want you to look at my horse,’ but at the end of the day, it should actually be flattering to those of us who are real cowboys,” he said. “If people think they look cool looking like a cowboy, then that should be a compliment to what I do. To me, it’s not a job or a career; it’s a lifestyle.”
He admits to liking the unpredictability of life as a cowboy, not having a particular job but just a general idea of what he will be doing each day. He divides his time performing cowboy and farm tasks for dozens of ranches and farms across Southeast Texas. One day that might involve installing a new barbed wire fence and the next day he might be cutting hay or catching lost cows.
“No one realizes how much country I ride. No one realizes just how much country is here in Southeast Texas. There is country down here in Texas that most people can’t fathom. You could be riding through a thicket and then find yourself standing in a marsh where you have to be careful or the bog will cover you and your horse’s head. I don’t talk about it like I am tough. It’s just a reality of the country in Texas,” he said.
While some cowboys live up to the stereotype of fighting, drinking and cursing, Melancon prefers to surround himself with people who promote a more uplifting lifestyle filled with the promise and hope that comes only from a belief in God.
“At some point, you get tired of being a turkey on the ground and you want to soar with the eagles. I’ve lived that other life. It was fun while it lasted, but at the end of the day, you have to realize why you are here. For me, it’s about a walk with God,” he said. “If God allows me to do what truly makes me happy by being a cowboy, then I will do anything He asks of me. I will try to push forth His kingdom in everything I do.”
Ultimate Cowboy Showdown is a TV show created by the INSP network, which promotes family-friendly content. To find out where you can watch current and past seasons of the show, or any of the other INSP network shows, go online to https://www.insp.com/shows/ultimate-cowboy-showdown/?=top_nav