LEWISTOWN — A year ago MTN Sports caught up with Chase Brooks, the Pokemon master. Flash forward to 2017 and Brooks is still catching Pokemon, but he’s also an undeniable rising rodeo star.

The 22-year-old is having another breakout season in the saddle: He’s 42nd in the PRCA world saddle bronc standings and third in the Montana circuit standings. He won Chinook and Stanford in the same week and took home a big check at the prestigious Cody Stampede over Cowboy Christmas.

“It’s a cool way to be able to make a living, while still competing with your friends and getting to hang out and do the stuff we get to,” said the Deer Lodge native after his ride in Cody.

Brooks certainly looks the part, but he’s far from your stereotypical cowboy. In addition to his Pokemon exploits, he says he’s not a fan of country music, he loves watching Netflix when there’s downtime and he’s dabbled in a vegan diet.

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It’s all part of his goal to stay in peak shape both mentally and physically.

“I’m going to school to be a trainer, so I do a lot of calisthenics and work on my diet while at home,” Brooks said. “If you’re just working out, you don’t really think about the rodeo aspect of it. It’s just an escape.”

Chase Brooks rides at a rodeo earlier this year. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

Whatever he’s been doing it’s worked. The young star knows not every ride will earn a check, but every time the chutes open is a learning experience.

“I mean, if you made an awesome ride near the buzzer then you’re jacked and on top of the world,” he said. “But if you kind of slip up near the buzzer you realize what you just wasted. It can kind of get to you a little bit, but you just have to move on and not let it affect you for longer than it needs to.”

Like any young rider, the goal is to someday make the NFR. But at 22 and still learning the ropes, time is on his side. Climbing the ranks will come one rodeo and one ride at a time.

“I don’t see myself any different than any other guy earning his living however else they choose to,” he laughed. “It’s just mine just requires a lot more driving.”