AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - After participating in the WRCA Rodeo in Amarillo, a Kansas cowboy had to ride home without most of his gear.
For cowboys like Luke Rush -- penning, roping, and wrangling cattle is second nature.
"I've been a cowboy my whole life," said Rush. "I pretty much train for this every day of my life, just day in and day out."
So, when he made it to the prestigious WRCA Championship rodeo for the first time it was a dream come true.
"Just to qualify means a lot," said Rush.
But the memories of the rodeo come bittersweet for Rush. After competing in a penning event, he put up his horse leaving the bridle and saddle on him -- and when he returned hours later, the gear was gone.
"They took absolutely everything off of the horse and just turned him loose in a stall," said Rush. "I was disgusted and shocked all at the same time that somebody would do that."
What makes this even more heartbreaking is the saddle had sentimental value. He had won it from a previous rodeo competition and it had his initials on it.
"Every buckle had my initials on them," said Rush. "This is not a saddle you can just sell."
The WRCA says this is the first time an incident like this has happened and says this is not the cowboy way of life.
"Certainly and isolated situation," said WRCA Association Manager, Leman Wall. "It's not something that's normal but of course, any time someone messes with personal property, that's disappointing but it does not reflect the Amarillo community as a whole."
Amarillo Police are involved and are pushing to find the stolen gear. Even though the rodeo has come and gone, Rush is staying hopeful it will turn up and isn't letting the theft get to to him.
"It doesn't slow me down," said Rush. "I put my pants on one leg at a time, the next morning and went on."
Rush says he will be back at next year's WRCA and will not let this incident put him down.
There are currently no leads in finding the saddle but if you were at the rodeo this year and saw anything suspicious near the horse stall -- please call the Amarillo Police Department.