Tom started his cowboy life at an early age on the banks of the Powder River some 20 miles south of Arvada. He learned his craft from his dad, Bill Wagoner, and went on his own in his early teens. He broke horses for others and his reputation to make good horses grew. He lived with Jack and Karen Leibee at the Haley Ranch east of Buffalo during the school term from 7th grade until the end of his freshman year. He broke horses after school and weekends during that time. Tom later worked for The Forks (Kendrick Cattle Co.), Clear Creek Grazing Association, Raynard McKenzie, and Tom Dixon. For a while he lived at Bob Christian cow camp on Powder River where he broke horses and did day work riding for various ranchers. Tom also rodeoed for several years, riding bareback and saddle bronc horses. He was awarded the title of PRCA Saddle Bronc Rookie of the Year in 1986 at 21 years of age. He has picked up bucking horses and has produced bronc riding schools to help high school and college potential bronc riders. As a horse trainer he worked with Buck Brannaman and Tom Moorehouse.