A competitor rides a bull Wednesday evening during the Red Wilke Construction CBR Bull Bash held at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. The Bash was a two-day event and part of the Road to Cheyenne CBR event. PHOTO BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN
HURON — The massive animal thrashes violently in a tight circle. Dirt and thick saliva are flying in all directions. Meanwhile, the rider sits resolutely on the beast’s back with one hand in the air. It’s normal in Championship Bull Riding.
However, sometimes people might wonder what it’s like behind the scenes.
Bull riders Cody Schultz and Cooper Daniels gave a little glimpse into what it’s like to live the life of a bull rider.
“I grew up on a farm,” said bull rider Cody Schultz of Tulare. “It just kind of comes natural. You are always riding horses, or always riding something.”
“I was about four or five,” said bull rider Cooper Daniels, of Denver. “When I started out watching them on TV. I grew up riding sheep and eventually calves and steers. I was about fourteen when I started getting on the bigger bulls.”
Schultz, now 26, said that he began riding the larger bulls when he was thirteen.
“I’ve traveled all over the country,” said Schultz.
Growing up in the bull-riding arena, Daniels and Schultz learned to be ready in the moments leading up to the ride.
“A lot of things that go through your mind is what you have to do to be able to ride,” said Schultz. “There’s really not much else that goes through your mind. You start thinking about anything else, and things start going downhill.”
Schultz said that he goes over the basics of bull riding, such as moving towards the front of the bull, sticking out his chest, and keeping his feet positioned right.
“You have to give it a lot of try,” said Schultz. “If you don’t try, you’re not going to ride. It’s eight seconds, but it’s the quickest eight seconds of your life, so you want to be ready for anything.”
“I’m pretty calm,” said Daniels, “I don’t really put a lot of pressure on myself. I just always say a prayer before I get up there.”
Meanwhile, injuries come with the sport. Schultz said that his worst injury took place in Huron. “About the second or third year that they had the CBR, I broke my back,” he said. “But I didn’t realize it until like two days later. I also broke off one of them barbs that come off the spine.” He said that he took a little time off after the incident.
“Everybody’s riding style is a little bit different, so you have to figure out what works for you,” said Daniels.
Daniels said that the summertime is a busiest time for a bull rider.
“In the summertime we get on a bull every day or every other day,” he said. “We get on about 120 bulls a year.”
Lastly, for aspiring young bull riders, Schultz gave a piece of advice, “ You gotta have heart to begin with,” said Schultz, “If your heart ain’t in it, you’re just going to get hurt. You gotta have a lot of heart and you gotta have a lot of faith. That’s just about it. If you have the heart to do it, the rest of it will come pretty simple.”
For the complete article see the 09-01-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-01-2013 paper.
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