Colorado cowboy finds success in riding and raising PBR bulls
For three nights at the National Western Stock Show, bulls and riders from across the country competed for the biggest prize money in the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro division. The finale, held from January 9-11, 2012 in Denver, Colo., offered a purse of $80,000.
Local cowboy Kody Lostroh of LaSalle, Colo., finished seventh during the event, and scored 168 points on two bulls. He was one of 15 riders to make the finals, out of the 90 who entered the event. He believes that hard work and dedication are what makes a good bull rider.
“Talent can only take you so far. I believe that the work ethic is what makes a champion a champion,” he said.
Lostroh, who is a Colorado native from Longmont, is a past PRB champion. He won the award in 2009, and has earned nearly $3 million since he started riding professionally in 2004.
He began riding when he was just 7-years-old, when he rode his first steer. “My mom had a tape of the Cheyenne Frontier Days and I would always watch that tape over and over.”
When he was 11, he switched his riding hand from his right to his left, and at that point things really began to click. In 2003, he won the bull riding title with the Little Britches Rodeo Association, and in 2002, 2003 and 2004 he won the bull riding title with the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association.
“The thing I like so much about riding bulls is it’s just so much of a challenge, and the adrenaline rush is really unique. There is nothing really like it. It’s just kind of a different sport that has always intrigued me. I can’t put my finger on one thing other than it’s super challenging but really rewarding too,” Lostroh said.
In fact, he enjoys being around bucking bulls so much that he now raises bucking bulls for the PBR. After six years, he now has 50 cows, and has raised 40 bucking bulls. “It’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy trying to make the right decisions in the breeding and training. It’s fun to see what I can get out of each individual animal,” he said.
Lostroh uses advanced reproductive techniques, such as embryo transfer and artificial insemination to produce the highest quality animals that he can. However, even after a breeding decision is made, it takes four or five years to know if he has a good bucking bull.
However, when he started, his focus was not just on raising bulls, but also on raising heifers, so that he could build his herd. “I’ve spent the last five years building the cow herd to be the best it can be. If the cows are bred up really well and produce really well, it gives you more options with the bulls you can use,” he said.
Before the bulls will ever compete, they have to be trained to go through the chute, and to remain calm in the chute. “I want to get them experienced in all the environment changes they will face in an arena,” Lostroh said.
When the bulls are two, they are trained to buck out of a chute. “The general idea is you are teaching the bull to be sure of its feet and to know where its feet are. That way when you put a rider on them, they aren’t crashing into things or falling down and hurting people,” he said.
He continued, “A lot of times they don’t really know what’s going on and are leaping, falling, and crashing into things. It takes time for them to learn.”
Raising the bulls has been a great experience for Lostroh. “I really like raising them because I think bucking bulls are really cool. That’s what drew me to the sport originally, just the challenge of riding something that is so much bigger and stronger than me. It’s fun raising them to see if you made the right choices with your breeding and training pays off, and to see a calf grow up into a real athlete that is a challenge for guys to ride.”
The PBR event at the NWSS was more than just a regular competition, however. It was the finale for the pro touring division, and the champion rider was crowned at this event.
Even though he could not compete, the overall touring pro division champion was Shane Proctor, from Mooresville, N.C. Proctor broke his left arm at the National Finals Rodeos in December of last year, after getting hung up on a bull. Even though he was injured during the 10th round, Proctor also won the NFR, and became the World Champion Bull Rider.
The champion for the PBR Touring Pro Division was determined based on total money earnings throughout the year, and Proctor earned $250,492.86.
“I had so much fun here in Denver last year, I had to come back,” Proctor said after being named the champion. “I will be back.”
The Denver Chute-Out was won by Chance Roberts of Jewett, Ill., who was the only rider to cover three bulls out of 90 riders. He took home $18,792 after posting a first round score of 84 on Jan. 10.
His first round score was not high enough to place him, but it was enough to send him to the finals on Jan. 11. In the second round, he posted an 86 point ride, which put him fourth in the standings, out of the 15 that made the finals.
It was in the third round that Roberts really shined. He scored 91 points on D & H Cattle Company’s bull, Priceless. After all of the other riders were bucked off, Roberts knew he had sealed his win.
The win is the biggest of his career, and could possibly move him up enough in the standings to compete in the Build Ford Tough Series. This is also his first win in three months, as he sustained a broken collar bone last summer.
The first round was won by Kasey Hayes of Liberal, Kan., who rode Cody Ohl’s Dr. Feed Good and scored 89.5 points. Second place was a tie between J.B. Mauney of Mooresville, N.C., and Kody Lostroh of Lasalle, Colo., who each scored 89 points. Two more riders tied for fourth place, and those riders were Ty Pozzebon of Merritt, British Columbia and Douglas Duncan of Alvin, Texas, who each posted 88 point rides.
The second round, held on Jan. 11, was won by Douglas Duncan of Alvin, Texas, on Trent West’s Sam T Straight. He rode the bull for 87 points. The second place finishers were Chase Outlaw of Tilly, Ark., Harve Stewart of Stephenville, Texas and Chance Roberts of Jewett, Ill., who each posted 86 points.
After the third round, Roberts was the winner with 262.5 points on three bulls. In second place was Douglas Duncan, with a combined score of 175 on two bulls. Third place was won by Chase Outlaw, with 171.5 points on two. In fourth place was Brazilian born Silvano Alves of Decatur, Texas, who scored 171 points on two. The fifth place finished was Harve Stewart with 169 points. In sixth place was Valdiron de Oliveira of Rhome, Texas, who had 168.5. In seventh place was Kody Lostroh of LaSalle, Colo., who scored 168 points. In eighth place was J.B. Mauney, with 165 points. Finishing in ninth was L.J. Jenkins of Porum, Okla., who posted 164 on two. Rounding out the field in 10th was Austin Meiers of Kinta, Okla., who had 158.5 points.