Batson cowboy to compete on reality show

As a young boy, Coy Melancon skipped school whenever he could help his father — a cowboy who worked on ranches in Southeast Texas.

Since he was 4 years old, the Batson native has been enthralled by the “romanticism” of cowboying, believing God put him on Earth to do the job for life.

Now 28, Melancon has the opportunity to show the entire country what he does every day.

He is participating in the upcoming third season of “The Ultimate Cowboy Showdown,” a reality show where 14 cowboys (and girls) from around the country compete to win a herd of cattle worth $50,000.
The show premieres at 7 pm CST, April 21 on INSP.
The Enterprise sat down with Melancon at the ranch where he currently works to talk about the show and his love for cowboying.
Q: Tell me about what your job looks like on a day-to-day basis.
A: I show up to this exact spot, feed everything — feed all the horses, and it just starts from there. It depends on what’s going on. Right now, our spring work is starting. Everybody we do day work for around the Beaumont area — there’s a bunch of guys we’ve worked for in Port Arthur all the way to Sabine Pass, Stowell, Winnie — everybody’s trying to get their spring work done right now. It’s show up, get everything done, saddle the horse every single day.
We’re either somewhere working cows, we’re here taking care of this stuff, we ride a bunch of outside horses, also. If we don’t have cows to go and work that day, we’ll go and start young horses. It’s every day, six days a week, Sundays are off. I still show up to feed on Sunday mornings (then) go to church and then come back over here and just clean up from what we didn’t get to do during the week.
Every now and then we’ll get a phone call to go catch a cow somewhere, something gets out on the road. I got the opportunity, just a couple of weeks ago, to start working for Liberty County as kind of like their livestock guy. So, when something gets out, they’ll call me and (I) go catch it and bring it back to their facility. Something’s always changing. It’s always fun.
Q: What is the process of going out and catching livestock when you get the call?
A: On a good day, they’ll call (in the) evening about five o’clock when it’s starting to get cool, when it’s not dark. (We’ll) just ease out there and see what it is. It could be a donkey, could be a cow. Usually, the phone call goes, ‘This is Officer So-and-so, we’re on this road, and we got a bad bull out here.’ And you show up and it’s a 600-pound yearling, and it’s a female instead of a male.
So, when you get the phone call and it’s, ‘Hey, this one’s terrible,’ you got to take what they say with a grain of salt. (They’ll say it’s) a bad bull, you show up and it’s a baby out there that’s just a little hot, a little warm. And you just go out there, rope it, load it into the trailer and ask what they want to do with it.
Most of the time the guys that own them are either there, if they’re not there, I’ll call them and try to get with them and let them pay me and then I’ll bring the cow back to them. But if it goes through like Liberty County, if they can’t find who owns it, they’ll hold it for 30 days, put an ad in the paper. If nobody comes and gets it, then I have the option to keep the cow or sell the cow. But I don’t get in to all that — I’ll just go catch it.
Q: If I’m understanding correctly, you work for a lot of people — is it akin to contract work?
A: Contract labor is what it is — contract cowboy is what it is.
Q: Do you have your own ranch?
A: I don’t. That’s what was a cool part about the whole show was being able to have that opportunity going in and trying to win something for yourself, for a guy in my position. I love my job. I love what I do every single day. Sometimes it’s hard to get up just because I’ll stay here ’til dark and then try to do my own stuff and end up not going to bed ’til midnight, one o’clock.
It’s hard to get up in the mornings just because I’m tired, but there’s no dread to it. There’s never a dread of, ‘Man, I gotta go to work today.’ Once I can get myself out of bed, I can get in the shower and be like, ‘I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.’
Lately I’ve been going to church and trying to get my life right and I’ve come to realize this is kind of my calling. This is what God has for me. He showed this to me and he was like, ‘This is what I want you to do. This is what I made you for. Go be successful at it and be prosperous in it.’ And ever since I’ve had that eye-opening experience, it’s been great.
Q: So, you’d someday want to have your own ranch?
A: Oh, for sure. Guys tell you all the time, ‘You can’t make no money working somebody else’s cows.’ And it’s true to a certain extent. (Some places) pay us really well, they take care of us. It’s hard to say I wouldn’t keep doing this if I had my own cows. Really, you have to have a substantial amount of cattle to really be prosperous and to actually live off of it.
And it’s great to start small and get big, but really, if you don’t have the land, lease pastures around here are getting harder and harder to find over the years and everybody that has it, they try to hold on to it because land is something they don’t build every day.
Right now, I don’t have that land. So, I’m not pushing it near as much to get my own stuff. It’s just like God’s timing kind of thing. Whenever he’s ready for me to have that, he’s gonna make an opportunity for me to have that. Right now, it’s just about staying steady and keep working.
Every cowboy wants his own place. There’s 400 head on this place right now and, I’m not going to say it’s easy to take care of, but it’s easy to go out, look through them every day, ride through them and just try to check everything out. And it’s not a, ‘Go put cows out in the pasture, come back in six months, get the calves, sell the calves,’ there’s a whole lot more that goes into it. Not everybody realizes that.
To me, that’s where the romance of cowboys comes in. If I get here early in the morning and I know I don’t have anything to do today, I just have to ride some horses, I can take everything real slow.
There’s a romance to it on a good morning — the sun’s coming up, there’s a fresh air. To me, that’s when you fall in love with it. That’s what drives me, are the mornings and evenings out here, you can’t beat them.
Melancon has been cowboying since he could ride a horse by himself, he said. He credits his father for taking the time to show him the ropes, literally.
I can remember a time whenever I was five that me and my dad pinned all 300 (cows), just me and my dad. Anybody that knows cows knows you can’t pin 300 head with two guys, but me and my dad did it that day.
At the time, it wasn’t no big deal, we were just working cows. But my dad told that story the other day and I was like, you know, that’s something that’s really cool. That’s something that not everybody can say that they’ve done.
Q: There are a lot of stereotypical depictions of cowboys, but what does it mean to be a cowboy?
A: You have to have that free spirit, you have to have that willingness and that motivation and make yourself get up every day to do it. It takes a lot of drive — a lot of doing stuff you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it.
It’s a seven-days-a-week job, it’s not something that you can just do on the weekends. You get to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it and to me, that’s the best part about it. If today I want to leave and go to Colorado and go to a branding, I just call a buddy, go load a horse and a couple of dogs and go to Colorado.
Q: All right, now I want to hear about the show. How did you get on? What was the audition process like?
A: On the first season, J Storme (Jannise), she’s from Winnie, and I heard she was on the show — that’s what got me watching the show. So, I watched the first two episodes and I was like, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool.’
I was like, ‘I can do this. This isn’t hard, I want to do this. I think I’d be good at this, not only for the cowboy aspect of it, but I want to get in front of the camera and I want to show everybody, hey, I got a cute smile, I can go do this. ‘ And that’s kind of where it took off.
After season two, I got to meet Jackson (Taylor) and Hunter (Arnold) from season two and I asked them how they did it. You’ve gotta kind of know somebody and for me, it was getting to know them — meeting them kind of helped put my foot in the door.
Melancon saw the audition call on Facebook close to midnight one night and decided to apply, shooting a video right from his kitchen.
I guess that happened in April of last year. It was Skype videos, call this person, do this background check, they want to do this psych evaluation. It got to the point of where (I thought) it’s not worth it.

It was to the point of like, this sounds fun, it looks like a great opportunity, but I’m tired. It was tedious.
Then they said, ‘You made it, don’t tell anybody.’
Melancon had to quietly travel to Wyoming, where the show was filmed, without telling anyone why he was going there. He said it was difficult to adjust when he arrived.
That’s when I learned how TV worked. They wanted everybody’s first impressions of each other. So, you get there and your person comes up to you, ‘Don’t look at this guy, don’t talk to this guy, get in your truck, stay in your truck.’
Once we get there and all of the interviews are done, you start sizing up the competition. You see what they’re driving, what kind of trailer they’ve got.
It’s a mind game the whole time. They told us going into it, you have to have some kind of strategy, what’s your strategy going to be?
For me, it’s big spoon, small pot — I can stir the pot.
The mind game was tricky for Melancon to keep going, however.
When you finally get to meet everybody, everybody kind of relaxes. I just never relaxed the whole time. Everybody else, when they turned the cameras on, they play their game. And for me, I told myself, I’m not taking a break from this.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about cowboying that they probably don’t?
A: For some reason, some people think that cowboys have money and that’s not the situation at all. You go from place to place and it’s paycheck to paycheck.
I wish people could see cowboying the way that I do. I know if everybody saw it like I see it, everybody would be in love with it and there wouldn’t be anybody doing anything else.
I eat, sleep, breathe this. I consume this every day to a point where it’s almost unhealthy. If I don’t get to ride one of my horses, it bothers me to the point where I’ll come out here, put a headlight on at night and ride my horse.
Melancon also likes to share his passion with his son and three daughters.
My kids love what I do. Every time they see a horse on TV now, it’s like, ‘Hey, is that you and your horse?’ They could be watching cartoons and (they’re like), ‘It’s daddy on TV!’
Every time they get a chance to come out here and do something, I try to drop everything I’m doing and be all about them. I didn’t realize how much my dad did for me as a kid. There were times he spent a whole extra hour doing something for me that I enjoyed for five minutes.
Now, seeing that makes me want to do that for my girls.