- Cleburne Independent School District
CHS Graduate--and Prize-Winning Team Roper--Prestyn Hewitt Among Career Day Speakers
Among the presenters at Coleman Elementary School’s Career Fair was 2019 Cleburne graduate Prestyn Hewitt, fresh off a six-figure second-place finish at the Ariat World Series of Team Roping.
While he could have talked at length about the $340,000 in prize money won by Hewitt and his team roping partner, the former Jackets baseball standout chose to hit home with fourth graders the importance of having a goal—and to keep moving forward.
Hewitt says he “roped a little” until he was 15, when he re-directed his sights on baseball.
“You can easily injure or even lose a finger as a roper,” he said. “When I got into high school and realized baseball could result in a college degree for me, I stopped roping and focused on baseball.”
Hewitt, who played nearly every position on the roster for the Jackets, signed with the Vernon College baseball program in the spring of his senior year. It was his first step toward a dream to ultimately play professionally.
“I wanted to play pro ball,” he said. “We all do. Then COVID hit and everyone on the team was sent home. My dream was changed.”
After six months back at home, Hewitt began thinking about his roping days, and soon found himself in the arena, on a horse, swinging a loop.
“I had to find something to replace my competitive edge,” he said. “You need a dream—a goal—to move forward. If you don’t have one, you are at a standstill. I began messing with roping again and it just took off.”
At the Ariat World Series of Team Roping, held December 7 in Las Vegas, Hewitt and teammate Andy Anaya of Wills Point came away with $340,000 in total winnings.
“I had no idea that would happen,” Hewitt said. “I have a good partner. Everything just worked out that day—everything was on our side.”
While Hewitt makes it clear that roping is a hobby, this latest result of that hobby has had quite an impact.
“It’s changed my life,” said the 21-year-old. “I’ve bought land with a house, a barn and an arena. Something that that could have happened three years from now when I’d saved enough money, I get to do now.”
Despite the success, Hewitt is keeping his boots firmly on the ground. Two days after experiencing the lights of Las Vegas, he was back at home—and work. Hewitt is a salesman at Centramatic Wheel Balancers in Alvarado, which is owned and operated by his family.
“That is my living, one hundred percent,” he said. “But this year, I made enough in team roping for this to be a living, as well as a hobby. To be involved in the family business is something I’ll probably always do. My grandparents are the owners and I owe it to them to keep things going when they can’t anymore.”
The Cleburne Yellow Jacket who once dreamed of a spot in the big leagues, law school and a career as a sports agent plans to keep dreaming, which comes as no surprise by those who know him.
“I always knew Prestyn would achieve,” said former Jackets Baseball Assistant Coach Ryan Stepp. Stepp is now an assistant principal at Wheat Middle School. “He was one of those players and students who put in the work, focus and commitment. It’s exciting to see where that is taking him.”
“I texted him when I heard he was a winner at the World Championships. He texted me right back,” Stepp said. “For him to do that in all that excitement meant a lot—that and the fact that he continues to stay in touch. Prestyn is a good one. To have been a college athlete, then to see COVID take that all away had to have been devastating. But he found a new goal and has done so well.”
The opportunity to speak to students has given Hewitt a new goal. He would like to speak to more students, including high school athletes, about the need to dream.
“I know—I promise—dreams can change,” Hewitt said. “But you have to have a dream—and chase a goal.”