Bull rider says it’s a mental sport
Theresa Tayler/metro Calgary
When Blade Young was bucked off the first bull he ever rode, then hung up on its horns for what he calls “a pretty good spell,” his dad thought it would discourage the teenager from pursuing the rodeo.
But for Young, now 28 and one of the best bull riders in Canada, it only heightened his fascination with the sport.
“My dad thought it was a good thing I got bucked off, and that it might scare me away from it, but I came out unscathed and just wanted more,” said Young, minutes before finishing third in yesterday’s Bull Riding Championship.
Young made $2,500 in less than 10 seconds.
“A good rider can make upwards of $100,000 a year — which is pretty good for work that isn’t full time,” said Young. “You get to travel, you get to do something exciting and make a living from it. It’s a very challenging type of work to make a living at, though, for every one that can there’s probably 500 who couldn’t and went back to nine-to-five type work.”
Young lives in his hometown of Tyvan, Sask., with his wife Becky and one-year-old son.
He says riding bulls is a mental sport.
“There’s a risk factor of getting hurt, and to overcome that mentally is one of the best feelings in the world,” said Young.
The athlete said every rider has their own way of dealing with the fear factor, and the trick is you can’t think too much about the dangers involved.
“A lot of people can’t handle the pressure — the mental part of it is the hardest part by far.
“Bulls are bred to be mean and wild and buck. They’re there to fight and your job is to stay on that bull and to get away from them,” said Young.
“If you don’t have 100-per-cent confidence in yourself and what you’re doing, you might as well not even try. You don’t have time to think about it. It’s all reaction.”
Young rides mainly in Canada and occasionally at U.S. rodeos. He also maintains his own ranch in Saskatchewan.