Good Start

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

I came to steer wrestling a bit late after a career as an NFL tight end.

by Bear Pascoe


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This was my first year pro rodeoing as a steer wrestler. I really came to appreciate my bulldogging horse, Scotch. At nineteen, he may a little on the older side, but he’s solid. He gives the same ride every time. He’s as honest as the day is long. A good example of this was in March at the rodeo in Scottsdale, Arizona.

After entering my first pro rodeos last fall on Scotch, I left him at home this winter so I could learn the ropes while mounting out down at the Texas rodeos. When I got home to California to prepare for the spring rodeos, I didn’t have any practice steers. And I barely had time to get Scotch legged up before hauling him to Scottsdale. I backed Scotch into the box at Scottsdale—the first time in many weeks—and during our start I had a bit of bad luck. I blew my right stirrup. We were running down the arena, and I couldn’t find the stirrup, so I decided to jump my steer anyway. I knew I didn’t have to worry about Scotch cheating me or taking a step out and leaving me hanging there. He stayed right where he needed to be and gave me a chance to be successful. I ended up splitting fourth.

I came to steer wrestling a bit late after a career as an NFL tight end. It’s taken me a while to improve. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you’re practicing for football, you can slow the game down and really work on your technique, but in bulldogging, you can’t slow a steer down and work on your head catch or your feet placement. You’re going full speed every run.

The most fun I had this year was rodeoing in the Northwest. All those rodeos—Kennewick, Bremerton, Ellensburg, Pendleton—are outstanding. The cattle are good. The competition’s great. Lots of bulldoggers are there hanging out and having fun. Before this summer, the closest I’d been was playing football in Seattle.

I didn’t take Scotch. He was recovering from a ligament strain. But the guys really helped me out. K.C. Jones let me on his big sorrel horse, Tebow, at Ellensburg, and I got to make some really good runs on him. I placed in every round and won fourth in the average. At Pendleton, I got on Jacob Stacy’s horse and won the second round and a check for thirty-seven hundred dollars. That was pretty awesome.

All in all, I had a pretty good year. I finished second in the rookie standings and sixty-ninth overall. I didn’t go as hard as some guys. I think I entered fifty-four rodeos. I’m excited to go at it hard next year and keep building on what I’ve learned.

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