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    Bucking For Points | Summer 2012 Out Here Magazine

    Bull rider Ryan Dirteater holds tight to his quest for a world title

    rider on a bull in the ring
    Ryan Dirteater, of Oklahoma, has ridden his way into ranking as one of the top 5 bull riders in the world.
    Out Here

    By Carol Davis

     

    When other young boys his age practiced at moving the football a few yards at a time or knocking the baseball out of the park, Ryan Dirteater was imagining himself on the back of a bull for 8 seconds — the length of a qualified rodeo ride.

    Young Ryan's dreams have taken hold. After going pro at age 18, Ryan, now 23, whose last name reflects his Native American heritage, ranks in the top 5 bull riders in the world.

    A career riding bulls feels natural to Ryan, of Hulbert, Okla., whose bull-riding heroes include Ty Murray and Chris Shivers.

    "It's something I grew up around, like a guy growing up around baseball or football," he says. "I love the sport and have had a passion for it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper."

    Bull riding has evolved into an immensely popular spectator sport, with television coverage, celebrity for riders, and a loyal fan following, aided by social media.

    Ryan credits the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) for the success.

    "Back ... in the 1990s, it was hard to make a living riding bulls," Ryan says. "When they started the PBR, the goal was for a guy to make a living riding and be able to retire when he was done. Well, it's where a guy can do that now."

    Generally, riders on the tour accumulate points, based on their performance from each ride, which determines their standing in the PBR and cash winnings.

    He's in the middle of a 28-stop Professional Bull Riders tour that began earlier this year at Madison Square Garden in New York and ends at the World Finals Oct. 26-28 in Las Vegas.

    Generally, riders on the tour accumulate points, based on their performance from each ride, which determines their standing in the PBR and cash winnings.

    "Points is how you win the world title," Ryan says.

    To get those points, he and his competitors have to stay for 8 seconds on the back of an ornery 1-ton bull that doesn't want them there.

    In the moments before the chute is opened, Ryan concentrates all his attention on the job at hand.

    "I take a deep breath, I'm focused, and everything is blocked out. I put my hand in the rope, slide up there, and nod," he says. "It's like a storm after that, I guess."

    Ryan knows almost instantly whether he has the potential to stay on the bull's back for 8 seconds — the goal of every bull rider. "I usually know with the bull's first jump," he says. "After the first jump, if you're still sitting good and still riding and getting after him, it might be okay."

     

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