|Faith-filled teen bull rider finishes 5th in national rodeo despite injuries on first ride|
|The Press - Sports|
|Written by Bob Gerard|
|Wednesday, 17 August 2011 13:15|
Bulls have tried to kill him. He’s had to crawl out of the rodeo ring after a ride. He’s had toes broken,bruised ribs and kept going. And Brandon Tuten of Taylor is only in his first full year of competition in high school bull riding.
Tuten, 17, whose friends call him “Boar Hog,” has been riding bulls since he was 11. But this has been his breakout year. He won the state high school championship and placed fifth in the National High School Rodeo Association competition this month in Gillette, Wyoming.
Like a moth to the flame, Tuten is drawn to the dangerous bulls. “I’ve always been interested in bull riding,” he says. “My dream is to be in the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).”
This very religious teen, a senior at Baker County High School, prays with his family before each ride. With his list of injuries it’s not surprising. He’s broken, cut, bruised or sprained just about every body part capable of injury, but he’s philosophical about it. “I just love it. I’m in Jesus’ hands,” he said.
For Tuten, bull riding is a family affair. His dad Chris Blue stays in the chute with him and tightens the rope around his gloved hands. His mother Judy sits in the stands, a nervous wreck. His little sister Jaden is his “biggest fan.”
“My family sees in me what nobody else did,” said Tuten. He also firmly believes that his success has come from above. “The Lord has given me a lot and I owe it all to Him,” he says.
There are 17 rodeos in the typical season, culminating in the state championship. This year, his first in serious competition, Tuten won the state title and qualified for the national finals.
After he and his family did a lot of fund raising, they were off to Gillette. But “Boar Hog” was in for a huge challenge when he got to Wyoming, alongside 170 bull riders from around the world.
The national finals also attract high-quality bulls, which Tuten described as “a step below those used in the PBR.”
The teen got a taste of how dangerous a national finals bull is in his first ride in the competition. The animal went crazy in the chute, pinning him against the gates, breaking two toes and bruising four ribs.
He was awarded a re-ride, but unable to walk, he was literally carried out and set on the bull. “It was probably my most memorable ride,” said Tuten. “After all that I managed to get 80 points. After it was over I had to crawl out of the ring.”
He doesn’t let a bull get the best of him. He rode a bull that once bruised five of his ribs. He met the same bull last weekend in a competition and rode him for 89 points.
Brandon’s performances at the finals caught the attention of PBR legend Tuff Hedeman, a three-time world champion and one of Tuten’s heroes. He met Hedeman, who is featured in the movie 8 Seconds, along with current stars Justin McBride and Chris Shivers.
The success has just spurred the young cowboy on to get better before the next season starts. He plans to continue competing and hopefully return to the finals next summer in Casper, Wyoming.
Despite his success, Tuten is very humble when talking about his sport. “I just want to thank my savior Jesus and everyone who has helped and supported me,” he said.
If this was what he can accomplish in one season of bull riding, we might be hearing about “Boar Hog” for some time to come.
|Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2011 09:35|