Bull riding is part talent, it's part mental, it's everything. And the basics are just, "Get on, nod your head, and ride." You ride 100 percent on your subconscious mind. You can't think, like: "Oh my God, he just turned back this way. I've got to do this." By that point, you've fallen off him. It's all muscle memory. You just get on, you ride, you try to stay on, balance takes over, and, most of the time, good things happen.
Riding bulls, it's not if you're going to get hurt. It's when and how bad. You try not to remember the bad rides, the wrecks. Last year, I think, I drew the same bull six bull ridings in a row and he lay down on top of me -- I mean, walked all over me -- six [weeks] in a row. He'd put his head in my back, and then drop his knees down on my back -- and just maul the hell out of me. Everyone, you know, they're scared of the horns, and this and that. But those four feet, they hurt.
If you're riding them correct, it's like dancing -- everything works. I'll get on bulls that weigh 22-, 23-hundred pounds, and everyone says, "Boy, this sumbuck jerks you around a lot. He's just heavy, he just drops out of the sky." And I'll get on him, and if I ride him right, when I get done, it's like riding a little calf. You take all that power away from him, and you just counter every move they make. You can get on these monster bulls and ride them perfect, and when you step off them, it's like you had a day off.
I'm having a bad year this year. I don't believe in slumps, but if I did, I'd tell you I was in one. I have to get out of [my negative] mind-set. The mental part of riding bulls is 90 percent of it. If you're worried about whether you're going to get hurt, that's all you're worried about. Negative thoughts -- you end up falling off. You have to have that positive kind of mental attitude. It takes one bull to get in a slump. It takes one to get out.
-- Interview by Patricia Murret