Koschel tops Colorado Riders at Greeley Stampede Xtreme Bulls
The PRCA Xtreme Bulls at the Greeley Stampede on June 27 featured 40 of the best riders and bulls in the country, and Josh Koschel of Nunn, Colo., was the top Colorado rider, and placed fourth overall.
He was one of only seven riders with a qualified ride, and even with that he had to make two trips, as his first bull was a reride. “My first bull was supposed to be a really good one to draw. He came out of the chute and turned back, and then turned really good. Then he got weak. He was spinning but wasn’t bucking,” he said.
He continued, “My second bull was pretty good and jumped out pretty good at the end. I got a good score on him.”
The winner of the event was Brett Stall of Detroit Lakes, Minn., who scored 86 points on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Hot Tamale. Second place went to Cody Rostockyj of Hillsboro, Texas, with an 85, and Nate Perry of Elk City, Okla., scored an 81. Koschel was fourth with a 78, and Nile Lebaron of Hamilton, Texas, was fifth with a 77. Jason Blasel of Fruita, Colo., scored a 62, and Cody Teel of Kountze, Texas, was the only other rider who had a qualified ride with a 54.
None of the riders made a qualified ride in the short go. “That bull bucked really hard and got me off pretty quick. It was a tough short round for everyone,” he said.
Koschel grew up in Loveland, Colo., and started riding bulls when he was just 8-years-old. He now lives in Nunn, Colo., and rides bulls full time. For the last several years he has only ridden in the PBR, but this year he decided he wanted to go back to riding in both the PRCA and the PBR.
“There’s a lot more money in both, and more events that are local with the PRCA. With the PBR, the events are really spread out so you are constantly traveling,” he said.
He added, “It’s hard balancing both organizations. It’s hard to pick the ones you want to go to, but you have to pick and choose, and have to miss some events one way or another. That’s a new challenge to balance both.”
Koschel has traveled to Australia, Canada and Mexico with the PBR, and all over the United States with both organizations. “Most of the rodeos on the East Coast aren’t big enough to be worth it. It all depends on the size of the event if it’s worth spending the money to go. I’ll go to any event if it’s close enough. If you have to buy a plane ticket and go along way, the reward needs to be good enough to make it worth it,” he said.
Riding in the PRCA this year was tough for Koschel at the beginning, because he didn’t ride last year. This set him behind in the money qualifications for the larger rodeos, and he had to work his way back up.
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have my qualifications up. This year has kinda been a year for me to get enough won so next year I can make a good run at the NFR. At the beginning of the year they go off of last year’s money. Since I didn’t ride last year, I started at $0,” he said.
He continued, “Right now they are doing a combo of this year and last year’s money. They are getting ready to where it’s just this year’s money. Then I can get into most anything I want. That’s where a guy needs to have a good year because it sets you up for next year. That will allow me to get into San Antonio and Denver. It gets your season started right.”
Koschel will be heading to Cheyenne Frontier Days in a couple of weeks, and is excited about the chance to compete there again. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s only about 30 minutes away, so it’s one of my closest rodeos. I’ve ridden there before, but it hasn’t been for a few years. The size of the rodeo and added money is really a big boost for the riders if they do well. It’s been around so long, and a cool deal because of the tradition and the history as well,” he said.
When Koschel is not riding bulls he works at his father’s machine shop, where he makes spur rowels. However, these aren’t ordinary rowels. The ones he makes are one of two rowels that the PBR allows its riders to wear.
“The PBR passed a rule a few years ago limiting the rowels you could use. It used to be any rowel you wanted. However, they don’t want bulls to get cut. Now, you get a choice between two rowels and one is mine, and the other is from Brazil,” he said.
Koschel developed the design himself, and cuts the rowels out using a CNC machine. “I was playing around with the machine and wanted to make something I could use. I had some free time and was playing with it and a few guys liked them and started riding in them. When they made that rule, the people in charge liked it and used it,” he said.
He continued, “That part of the business has really taken off since that rule came into affect. The majority prefer mine over the other rowel. It’s a little more aggressive and people outside the PBR also want to use it. I think they like it because they want to get used to what they are required to wear if they choose to ride in the PBR. It’s safe, in terms of riding bulls. It’s pretty good.”
The rowel itself has to meet specific guidelines in order to be used by the riders. One side of the rowel is thinner than the rest, which allows the rowel to catch in the spur and not spin. This is a very important feature.
“Usually you had to put wire in your spur to stop the rowel from rolling. My design eliminated that. The rowel is 1/4-inch think, and the groove is 1/8-inch wide. I use a mill to cut it out so that it slips and rotates about a quarter of a turn and then hits and stops,” he said.
This design is helpful to the riders, who use the spurs to help stay on the bull. “If the rowels just spun it would almost be worse than no spur at all. The main thing is to keep your feet from sliding back. They don’t hold you down or hold you on, but it helps you get ahold of the bull so you aren’t sliding all over the place,” Koschel said.
Making spur rowels keeps him busy when he isn’t riding. However, in the next few weeks, he will be attending rodeos in Estes Park, Loveland and Cheyenne. They are all close to home, which is important to him.
Koschel likes to ride in the local rodeos because of the hometown support that he receives. “I enjoy the stampede because it’s one of the closest rodeos to me. I have a lot of friends and family who can come. It’s good to know that people support you and want to come out and watch you. I like to do good in front of my hometown crowd,” he said.
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