Looks like I went pretty quiet starting in August. Any guesses? Yep, BOW HUNTING SEASON. My dad and one of my good friends drew unit 61 tags so I helped them find and kill some big bulls. Here is one my buddy Trent got:
This fall was filled with a lot of year-end qualifying rodeo events too after the regular season. I qualified for the All-American Finals Rodeo in Waco, Texas and ended up winning the 2nd-go of my bracket as well as qualifying for the semi-finals. Can’t wait to go back to that rodeo. Not too long after that I made it to my third circuit finals and had a ball there, too. I finally got to get on a horse I’ve been dying to get on, Hostage of Cervi’s, and he definitely didn’t let me down. I ended up missing making Oklahoma City by just about $70, so I’m excited to get after it this next year.
In my off-time here before the indoor rodeos start back up, I’ve been doing a lot of trapping and predator hunting. But, the off-season for rodeo isn’t too long – We’re back at it in T-minus two weeks. Keep you posted! Denver first!
It’s been a fun year on the rodeo road (and sorry for not posting more – things have been crazy for us and it’s hard to update from a phone). We’ve still got two months left in the season, but I’m right on track to hit 100 rodeos this year (the maximum you can count in bareback riding). I’ve had a few wins this year including Cortez, Redding, Riverton and a handful more, but even better is that I’ve made some of the rankest bareback rides yet in my career. It’s a blast rodeoing when you can go be a bunch of points and get on some of the best stock in the country! One of the highlights of my summer so far was when my girlfriend took some vacation and we hit Moab, Silver City and Elizabeth over a long weekend. I ended up drawing Classic’s Scarlett’s Web in Silver City and rode for 89 points. Points aside, it’s an amazing feeling to be right there with a jam-up horse like her the whole ride. My luck at pulling checks continued through most of the summer and I kind of hit a dry spell over Cowboy Christmas after I got kicked in the back of the head at Reno and pulled out of the arena on a stretcher. Things turned out fine, but between that and not drawing like I could have, it slowed down a bit. It was a great chance to think about how I can control what I can and ride the best possible, and this last weekend I was 85 and 86 in two of the four rodeos I entered. Good or bad, everyday is an awesome day out here – It’s just a lot more fun when you’re winning! I’m headed to Idaho and Montana this week and will make the Colorado/Wyoming fair run next week with some rodeos in Oregon and Missouri as well. Hope I can update next with news of some big wins!
Well they caught it on video! Here is some footage of my Wild Ride as Tom Cruise at the 2012 Red Bluff Roundup.
I‘ve been on the road a bunch the last two months (since my last blog post about Armadillo hunting in Texas). I think I’ve been home twice since then and can’t remember when I left again – Sometimes it can be hard to be so far away from family, but I feel so lucky to do what I love every day and to be supported by such great people. I’m a really lucky guy.
Since I last posted, I got to ride for the first time in San Antonio. It was unreal. It’s hard to describe how cool it was to ride at that rodeo. Guys have talked about how that is their favorite rodeo and until you experience it, it’s hard to understand why. We were taken care of and the committee made us feel like kings. I guess that is what professional athletes should feel like! Anyway, it was a blast and I can’t wait to go back again next year.
After San Antonio we hit a bunch of the Texas rodeos, including Rodeo Austin where they broadcast the rodeo live on web TV so my family was able to watch me ride from home. We all ended up catching checks here and there during that run. Then my traveling partners, Seth Hardwick and Casey Colletti, headed off to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo to represent our circuit, the Mountain States (Colorado and Wyoming). I decided to keep entering since that’s the only way to win checks and keep getting better. I more or less hitch hiked across Texas to get to Nacogdoches and ended up catching up with Heath Ford who let me stay at his new house in between rodeos. After some scary Texas weather (those who know me know how much I hate bad storms after going to school in Kansas) and spending a few days helping build a bathroom for Heath’s new house, I finally caught a break and got a big check at Nacogdoches. I kept up the good luck and also won Graham. At that point I had my own rental car and some of the Wright brothers jumped in with me to Beaumont. We had a quick turn around to get to Houston, catch a flight and make it to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Our flight had a big delay and we were all sweating bullets to make it through Philadelphia traffic to make it to the matinee performance in New Jersey. Lucky for me, I had six bronc riders who drove while I got dressed, wrapped and stretched in the back seat. I did feel bad for the guys because with all the hitch hiking my riding jeans hadn’t been washed in, well… a long time…
Atlantic City is a really cool rodeo right there on the Boardwalk. Although I tried my guts out, didn’t get anything done there at all. I headed back to Philly, enjoyed a cheesesteak and made my way back to Colorado for a week. I had a really long wait at the airport and was so bored that my girlfriend suggested I download the Nook app and read the Hunger Games. I can’t put it down! The first Hunger Games book was the first book I’ve read in 12 years. I have to say, reading a good book like that helps pass the time on the road.
While I was in Colorado I went back to Grand Junction to see my family and spend some time in the woods thinking. The elk and deer are all shedding their antlers, so I got some nice sheds, too.
Then Seth and I loaded back up and headed off to Pocatello (ID), Oakdale (CA) and Logandale (NV). I had a lot of trouble drawing horses to compete, but rode great. I even had my first experience riding in a lake, Lake Oakdale! I did sneak out a check at Oakdale all the same.
Casey met back up with us after Logandale and we spent a few days in Las Vegas while he visited with his newest sponsor, the MGM Grand. A few days by the pool and eating as many crab legs as I wanted, I was in good shape to hit the road again. We made our way back to California where we then hopped on a plane to Corpus Christi, TX. The horses at Corpus were rank and we had a good time. Corpus even had a crawfish cook out, where I had a ball.
Thanks to Jenny who took good care of us while we were back down in Southern Texas and even cooked us a home made meal! Then we were back to California for Lakeside and Red Bluff.
Red Bluff was so cool. I ended up winning a check, but the best part was I got to participate in the Wild Ride. Usually they have bronc riders compete, but I told them I’d ride if I could use my riggin. They let me! The Wild Ride is a tradition at Red Bluff where six pro cowboys get to pick a costume from a list, wear the costume and buck out a horse. There are judges who score the ride, but the crowd gets into it big time. I picked Tom Cruise and went out to ride my horse in just a white shirt, skivvies and cowboy boots.
Since I was Tom, the committee asked me not to wear my cowboy hat and to put on a wig. I really got into it! I even ripped some socks to fit over my cowboy boots so I could really look like Tom. There were a bunch of guys who silly stringed me as my horse reared out around the post, and I spurred her real good. After I got off I did a Tom Cruise run and slide in the arena… And then ripped off my shirt. The crowd went wild. How many people can say they rode a bucking horse in their underwear in front of a roaring crowd?! Oh, and I won third, which paid pretty good, too.
The last few months really have been a WILD RIDE. I’ve seen so much country and have experienced a ton of new things. Things just seem to be clicking too and I can’t wait for what’s ahead. I love this life and wouldn’t want it any other way.
I am really lucky to have great friends supporting me while I’m out on the road. One of those friends is Trent Johnson of Greeley Hat Works – Check out the blog post I wrote for his website called “Good Guys Wear White Hats,” which talks about why I wear a white hat when I ride bucking horses.