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By: Courtney Kennedy, Decatur FFA
September 01, 2010


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Hundreds of FFA members attended the Texas FFA Rodeo events, and watched their fellow members ride to victory.

We’ve all watched as riders get bucked off, stomped on, sparred, and even make the buzzer; but not many of us know what it takes to compete in the sport of rodeo. Bareback riders Cody Pollard from Decatur, and Chad Rutherford from Itasca, have two very different perspectives on the sport of rodeo.

Pollard fell in love with rodeo when he attended the Texas Stampede in Dallas, at the age of 15, and he quickly began training to compete in the sport. His training process consisted of lifting weights, stretching every night, and attending as many buck-outs as he could to gain experience. Pollard believes anyone can learn to rodeo if they are willing to put in the time and effort to succeed.  The one thing Pollard has taken away from this all is FFA members should never be strangers to each other, and it is important to get out there and help whoever you can in whatever way you can.

“All you have to do is have a strong heart and you can be a strong competitor,” Pollard said. 

“Deciding not to play football was one of the best decisions I could have made; not only did I find something new that I enjoy, I have found something I’m passionate about doing,” said Rutherford. “I plan on going pro some day.”

Rutherford started competing in the sport only seven months ago as a way to get into college, but for the first two months of his training Rutherford didn’t even touch a horse. Buck- off machines and hay bales were the extent of his training until he felt comfortable with his technique. Rutherford believes it takes a certain kind of person to rodeo since not everyone can handle participating in a sport where you could end up coming out worse than when you went in.

“This is a sport where you strap yourself onto 1000 pounds of fury on a weekly basis, and that’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Rutherford. “Not everyone can handle the amount of physical and mental pain they go through to get to the point where they are good competitor.”

The one thing both boys agree on is rodeo is the most demanding sport around, mentally and physically. To stay loose and in focus before a ride, they practice some intense rituals common to most rodeo participants. Most riders will wear the same pair of jeans every time they ride so they have the perfect fit, some riders will wear them without washing them. When looking around the chutes almost every rider will have their earphones in listening to music to get in the zone. The most important thing, no matter which rodeo event you compete in, is to stretch daily and know your body’s limits.

No matter which way you view the sport, get on, hold on and ride!