Chris Bolin/for Metro Calgary
Dan Mortensen has been taking some time off this year. The six-time world champion bronc rider is back in the saddle this week at the Calgary Stampede after taking seven months off to recoup, regroup and to rethink his career.
“I was ready for a break; this is the first rodeo I’ve been to all year. Just because it was the Calgary Stampede. I thought it would bother me a lot more taking the time off, but it really didn’t,” Mortensen told Metro yesterday before his ride.
The 38-year-old bronc rider has made $9,000 so far this Stampede — not a bad haul — but Mortensen says he’s still not sure whether he will continue to rodeo this year.
“I was so beat up and crippled last year, I wasn’t riding to the level I needed to be and my body was just telling me I needed a break and that’s kind of what I’ve been (listening) to right now,” he says.
“This week I’ve been going good but I’m still a little tentative.”
Mortensen lives in Billings, Mont., with his wife Darla. He’s been riding professionally for over 17 years — and made millions of dollars doing so.
“This week plays an important role as to the rest of my career — whether I will continue to rodeo again or not,” says Mortensen. “I’ve been enjoying being at home, and forgetting about the daily grind of driving for 100 miles a day every year.”
He says the hardest part about rodeo isn’t the bumps and bruises you take when you’re bucked off an unruly horse, but the long hauls across the country from one rodeo to the next. But he loves the rodeo nonetheless.
“I just love it, first off I love horses, I love riding bucking horses — it’s the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever had and I’ve done well … I’ve had a good career,” he says.