Bulls fill double goal for Nebraska cowboy
North Platte, Neb. – He’s a bull rider, but he’s a businessman, a daddy, a husband, and a goal setter, too.
Dustin Elliott, the 2004 World Champion Bull Rider, is having a great year. He’s ranked 10th in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings, number 13 in the Pro Bull Riders world standings, and number one in the Prairie Circuit.
The North Platte, Neb., man, who grew up in Oregon, got started riding bulls when he and his brother found their dad’s bull riding gear in a closet and thought, “this would be fun to do.” He moved to Nebraska to attend Chadron State College on a rodeo scholarship, after winning the Oregon State High School Rodeo Bull Riding championship in 1999, then won the College National Finals Rodeo in 2001. He went on to win the PRCA world title in 2004.
The 29 year old has more on his plate than riding bulls, however. He and his wife Cynthia have twin children, Ethan and Emma, who are three years old, and have a small herd of bucking cattle and do some custom haying. And Dustin plays ‘Mr. Mom’ when he’s home. “When I’m home, I’m on the job with the kids. Bath time is mine, dinner time is mine, bedtime is mine, and waking them up and getting them ready is mine,” he says. He appreciates his home time with them since he’s on the road a lot, competing at rodeos. “I spend quality time with them, as much as I can. When I’m at home, they’re at my hip.”
As number one man in the Prairie Circuit standings, Dustin has won money at many rodeos in the PRCA’s regional division of rodeos in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. He has placed first at rodeos in North Platte, Neb., and Bennington, Kan., and won money at rodeos in Lincoln and Burwell, Neb., Abilene, Kan., and Lawton and Guymon, Okla. He will compete at this year’s Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Park City, Kan., October 29-30.
He treats his bull riding as a business. “I’ve got a saying,” he says. ” ‘The guy who stays on the most, wins the most (money).’ ” Dustin keeps track of the bulls he has ridden and figures his riding percentage at 63% this summer. “It’s just like a business,” he says. “If it ever comes a time that I’m not making money,” he’ll quit. “If it was a business (and it wasn’t making money) they’d close down or fire somebody. I like to ride bulls, but with kids and a family, I need to be making money or I need to find something else to do.”
Now his goal is to do something that few men have done: qualify for the finals rodeo in two associations – the PRCA’s National Finals Rodeo, and the PBR’s World Finals. Mathematically, he could win the championship in both associations.
Earning a berth at both finals would give him the opportunity to do something else: bankroll the prize money. “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be riding bulls. In this event, my career might be over tonight. You don’t want that, but realistically, you have to be conscious of it.” Dustin and his wife have begun planning for their future financial well-being. “There’s no retirement (plan) in rodeo,” he explains. “There are guys who may win $100,000 a year but how much do they waste? I’ve seen that and I don’t want to be that guy.”
Rodeo is his job, but it’s more than that. “I’m trying to use rodeo as a step to being my own boss after I get done riding bulls,” Dustin says. “If I can ride bulls and make enough money and invest my money right, I can do what I want, or if my kids have a t-ball or volleyball game, I can go.”
Dustin will be one of twelve bull riders competing at the 2010 Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Park City, Kan., this fall. The rodeo will be held at 7:30 on October 29 and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on October 30. For more information, visit the Prairie ProRodeo Circuit’s page on Facebook.