Jason McClain’s having fun again
Things are going well for Western Slope bull rider Jason McClain of Lewis, Colo. “Rodeo’s a different deal when you’re healthy,” explains McClain. “Right now I’ve got a good thing going. I’m home during the week, then go rodeo on the weekends.” McClain will occasionally enter an independent bull riding – like the March 20, 2010 Professional Team Bull Riding (PTBR) event held in Greeley, Colo., but competes most often these days on the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit in the Touring Pro Division.
This division feeds the more popular, televised “Built Ford Tough Series” which airs weekly on Versus. The top 40 bull riders in the PBR are invited to attend the Ford series events. McClain, currently sitting 61st in the standings, has plans to move higher soon. “I’m entered in events in Washington, California and Texas over the next couple weeks. My buddy Myron Duarte lives out West, so I’m going to meet up with him out there and rodeo a little.” While he’s not comfortable being ranked in the 60s in anything, McClain understands the sport of rodeo, especially bull riding. As he puts it, “Sixty is not out of reach when the cut’s at 40. I’ve been doing good lately and believe I can make the (Ford Tough Series) tour.”
Jason makes a good point here. Twenty places in the sport of bull riding is not a huge gap. Many things can come into play during a bull riding season, especially injuries.
McClain’s no stranger to the hazards cowboys face in the arena. “I’ve got something like seven plates and 37 screws in my body, mostly in my legs” states McClain. “I don’t have to show copies of x-rays to get through airport security or anything, but it can get interesting when they waive one of those wands around me.” McClain adds, “I can usually get them to let me through once I raise up my pant legs and show them the scars.”
The scars he’s referring to are the results of six broken legs suffered in competition. “I’ve broke the left one four times and the right a couple times too,” confirms McClain. If broken legs aren’t enough, you can add in a broken neck. As McClain tells it, “I broke the C3, C4 and C5 vertebra in my neck a couple years ago in Caldwell, Idaho, and they had to fuse them together and put a plate in. It’s not affecting my riding much anymore, but I still don’t have the range of motion I used to.”
Even with these setbacks McClain has somehow managed to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) six times. Qualifications, however, are not how he measures success. Whether it’s the PRCA or PBR he’s riding in, his goal is to win it all. “I believe I’ve always had what it takes to win a world title,” said McClain, “It’s just hard to do it when you’re hurt and forced to sit out five, six or seven months at a time.”
After being on injured reserve the last couple of seasons, a healthy and rested McClain is happy to be in the game again. “I’ve enjoyed the time at home with my wife Laurie, son Cooper, age 6, and daughter Josey, age 1. I’m also excited to be going to rodeos again. You start to crave it after you’ve been home for a while.” Hopefully things continue to go well for Jason the remainder of 2010. v