He grew up in a small New Mexico town not far from where Mark Wahlberg and company filmed 'Lone Survivor' and Zach Thomas stands alone as college rodeo's only 26-year-old U.S. Army combat veteran whose tour in Afghanistan included a couple of Black Hawk four in the morning drops into "the middle of nowhere." That he is standing at all let alone back on bucking horses is right in line with the Casper College man's life-role as a rebel. The late Tom Parker was coaching the T-Birds when Thomas showed up saying he'd like to give bareback riding try. Surely Parker felt an immediate kinship since he was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. Thomas will soon move into UW's Casper College social work degree program. He's already employed by Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper. This weekend is Zach's last college rodeo. He was toes out and on top for his final time Easter weekend in front of Casper fans and friends many of whom refer to him as "Crash".


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