Living the Dream
This is my first NFR as a bull rider. I had a goal to come in here and win a couple of go-rounds. I don’t want to settle for one. I want to win some more!
I joined the PRCA in 2013. I broke my leg and had to recover. I came back, and in 2017 I stayed out on the road until the Dodge City rodeo in early August—until I ran myself completely broke. You put up so much money to rodeo. If you ain’t winning, it will pull you down quick. I owed the PRCA three or four thousand. I was fined-up. So I headed to Texas, and this old boy who owns a construction company gave me a job. It was mostly what I’d call dirt work, but he let me off whenever I wanted to go ride bulls.
When the 2017 season ended, I was ranked fiftieth.
I set a goal this year of finishing the regular season in the top five. I ended up third in the world. What made this year different? The only answer I can give is keeping my faith strong and not giving up.
Being on the road for four months, there are times when you just want to go home. You think, Dang, I’m tired. I’m wore out. But you just can’t. You gotta stay out there. This year, I had an unbelievable winter. Everywhere I would go I was winning money and having fun. That’s another reason I did good this year, because I wasn’t worried about money. I had my bank account looking good, and I just went and never looked back.
I never watched the standings. Every now and then I’d get a glance or see somebody share something, but I never just sat there and looked up the standings. I never wanted to let it get to me and be like, Oh, I’ve got the Finals made, because then I might let up. I wanted to fight till that last day. Even towards the end of the season, when everybody was telling me congratulations for making the NFR, I was like, Heck, it ain’t over yet! We still got a couple weeks of rodeoing left.
If you’re roping, you might run one a little further to make sure you rope him. Or if you’re riding barebacks or broncs, you might safety up a bit—just hang on and not spur. With us, there ain’t no safetying up. If you quit moving, you’re about to get slammed.
I’m a pretty humble person. I try not to let myself get too excited when I’m winning or too down if I’m bucking off a bunch. I try to be pretty casual about the whole deal. But when I drove out here to Vegas and got to the Back Number Ceremony, man, reality sunk in. It was so special getting that back number, because it meant the dream of competing out here was finally coming true. When they hand you that back number, you’re like, Heck, it’s real now! Everybody at the ceremony was like, Are you ready? I said, Well, I better be, because it’s here!
Coming into Round One, I was a little nervous. I bucked off that night and again in Round Two. I was making little mistakes and, heck, some of them bulls just buck. They were just bucking me off!
I knew the bull coming into the third round. I rode him in Dodge City for 87 or 88 points. I was pretty excited about that draw. I was, like, Tonight’s the night to finally break the ice. And it was. I won third. It felt good. Just to hear the buzzer and you’re still on the back of one of them suckers in that arena is pretty exciting, no matter what your score is. Just to hear that buzzer.
I bucked off in the fourth and fifth rounds. Then, last night, I drew a bull called Divinity from Hi Lo ProRodeo Company. I remember seeing him a few times this year. I watched my buddy Koby get on him in one of the earlier rounds this week, and the bull stumbled and lost his feet. They gave Koby a re-ride. I was talking with the guy from Hi Lo, and he said Divinity stumbles like that when he comes off fresh. “But he ought to be good tonight,” he told me.
Heck, 91 points later, I guess he was pretty dang good! To get a round win at my first NFR, especially with a 91-point ride, was pretty exciting.
I’ve got another one of Hi Lo’s tonight. They call him Twenty to Life. I’ve never been on him, but I watched him with Boudreaux Campbell the other night. He has two different trips, but he’s a good sucker either way.
I’m pretty excited. I had a goal to come in here and win a couple of go-rounds. I don’t want to settle for one. I want to win some more!
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