As Luck Would Have It
Well the 2014 rode season for me was rather short. I sustained a broken clavicle at the start of the season and was forced to ride the bench for the summer. I was back in the gym and back to work within 7 weeks, I had plans on returning for a few close rodeos but I got caught up with life. Really all I could do was look forward to the 2015 season. That was until I got an email from the secretary of the Ontario Rodeo Association. I had just finished up at the gym and checked my phone only to see an email that said “hello Mr.Moyer we had to draw names to fill the remaining 3 spots for finals and you were chosen”. I jumped so high in the air and let out a huge yell(likely scaring anyone who was around me). To clarify for anyone who does not understand how this happened allow me to explain. The Ontario Rodeo Association (ORA) takes 7 contestants to its finals in the 7 standard events and when they do not have enough they draw names from all the member in that event. So myself and 2 others were chosen and invited to the finals.
Without hesitation I happily accepted the invite and now it was time to prep myself for bull riding. I shifted everything from what I was eating to what I was doing at the gym. I am a avid weight lifter and health nut so now that I was riding bulls in a mere 3 weeks I had to get arena ready. My weight lifting shifted to from my typical heavy and power lifts to more endurance and cardio. To add more endurance I aimed for higher rep ranges, I also added more cardio like boxing and running. As much as I hate running it was crucial for the finals. My endurance had to be elevated if I was going to get through 3 days of bull riding. My diet was also shifted, I was eating foods that bulk me up since it was “bulking season” . I chose foods that would slim me down and not add so much muscle mass. You would think that in order to ride bulls you need tons of muscle but you would be wrong. But there are exceptions like the Brazilian bull riders who have huge arms but typically the average bull rider is a mere 140-170 pounds.
Aside from the transition in the weight room and the kitchen I also had start some bull riding drills. This began with drills on horseback and practicing proper dismounts. My horseback drills were fairly basic, I just rode bareback to get my legs use to shifting my weight as the horse changes direction anywhere from walking, trotting, and galloping. This drill also helps with keeping your legs moving which is very important to ride bulls. When practicing dismounts I would throw my bull rope on a horse and have someone lunge the horse and I simply jump off. Sounds very basic but I promise you that keeping it basic is the best way to go. On the technical end of bull riding I reached to a good buddy of mine who built his own “drop barrel”. The drop barrel is a key ingredient to learning how to ride bulls properly. This device helps you learn how to post up and get over the front of rank bulls. It was a simple hours drive over and I spent a few hours doing drills.
The actual drop barrel is pictured above with Ontario Bull Riding Champion Bill Thom and the man who designed it Alex Vanevery. It is very useful and helped a great deal.
With all the prep work done it was time for round 1 of the finals. I was more anxious than anything and was ready to ride. My first round draw was a big orange bull named Wow Factor, and he was named appropriately I lasted 3 jumps was hit in the face and thrown in the air like a rag doll. I didn’t have a chance in hell of riding that bull. I walked away sore but was ready for round 2. My next opponent was a black bull called Up Up and Away….and much like his name that is where he sent me after 2 jumps he planted me flat on my back(which still hurts today). I was more than a little upset with myself because both of these bulls I can ride on any day of the week. My bad luck was continuing but so was every other bull riders luck. The bulls had went for an impressive 14-0 as we rolled into round 3. I woke up on Sunday knowing I had to change something and it was so simple has calling my Dad. My Dad was an all around cowboy and a guy who I have always turned to in order to tweak my bull riding. We concluded that I was overthinking everything and should just relax and let it happen. I was overthinking every move and what I should be doing then when I nodded for the gate I just froze and got planted. So that was the game plan just relax. The entire day I was cool as a cucumber, I drew a bull who I have been on before and was in a good state of mind. I was the 2nd rider out and it seemed like the bulls were going to post a shut out against the cowboys….that was until I nodded for the gate my bull circled around to the left and I was the first qualified ride of the finals. I threw my helmet and celebrated in the arena with a posting of 74 points I was on cloud nine. One other rider posted a 79 point ride and won the finals leaving me with a 2nd place finish overall. I was very very happy with how things turned out considering how my season started. I left the ORA finals in Ancaster with a huge smile ,some extra cash and some very sore groins. I leave the 2014 rodeo season looking strongly towards the 2015 season and proved that even though your season starts with a serious injury it truly aint over till that fat lady sings!!
Thanks to everyone who helped me out and gave me advice!!!
Below is footage from the roughstock end of the arena from my buddy Alex Vanevery! My ride is at the 2:27 mark!
Let ER Buck