Yes you read that right. Bull riding. As promised in my original blog post, I would elaborate more on this in the future. See, I used to ride bulls. Not really for fun but for sport. I wanted to make it big, go pro, and win the buckle. Bull riding holds a very special place in my heart even thought it’s been many years since I sat on the back of one. Now I know what you’re asking…
How on earth did you get started in bull riding?
It truly wasn’t that hard. Around my 13th birthday I made it known that I had this big ambition to ride a bull. Word got around and a week later I sat on top of my first ever bull. It only cost me $15 and signing a waiver of course. I think my Dad was more nervous than I was. My Mom didn’t even come because I’m pretty sure she was living in denial for the first several months of my riding career.
That day I put on some borrowed rodeo chaps, a protective vest, and a helmet and nodded my head for the very first time. I really can’t tell you what made me want to ride bulls other than the fact that it was a challenge; and now I know my personality type is “The Challenger” so it seems like a natural fit.
So, what happened after that?
Adrenaline = my best friend!
Needless to say I was hooked from day one. The energy in a rodeo arena is vastly different when you’re behind the chutes and the one actually riding these animals. Soon as I dusted myself off from my first ride, which lasted a whopping 3 seconds, I made a vow that I would make a living doing this.
That night started a 6-year journey to try and make it big by the time a graduated high school. My entire life’s purpose was to be a professional bull rider. I would watch my ride tapes (when tapes were a thing) over and over to perfect my riding form. I was all in. I even dressed the part, something I’m not proud of now because of many embarrassing pictures as proof of how dorky I was. At school I looked like I was heading to a rodeo. I went to school in Ohio but dressed like I worked a ranch in Texas. The part of your locker that’s supposed to hold books was cleared out as a safe for my prized and very expensive cowboy hat. I know, you’re judging me right? I don’t blame you.
So, what happened?
Well needless to say I was never “pro” caliber. I did win every now and then and would often walk away with some prize money. But I never won a buckle; ever! Came close, but many injuries and trips to the emergency room kept me from ever getting the 1st place buckle.
Around year 2 of riding I met some guys who impacted my life forever. Remember earlier how I said rodeo held a special place in my heart? Well they were the reason. We will get into that journey in a future post. To summarize, these young men mentored me and showed me how an honorable man with integrity lives. They also introduced me to Jesus; who I had not really thought about before and had very wrong views of. That journey led me to preaching my first ever sermon at a rodeo arena, to signing up to go to college for preaching and leadership, to entering ministry, to developing leaders, to meeting my wife, to me discovering my truest self.
That’s a lot to just summarize but I’m sure you all have stories of your own and it’s hard to summarize your story. We will go into more detail at a later post, in which I would love it if you would share your current journey to self-discovery. That’s why we are all here. To encourage and help one another! That’s why I built this website. Let’s talk more about that later. For right now, maybe you could answer these closing questions and leave a comment below: