Justin McBride rides bulls like Jim Sharp and approaches each ride like Ty Murray.

McBride is the 2005 world champion who is on pace to win his second title in three years on the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series.

When McBride is aboard a rampaging bull for eight seconds, his riding style is very smooth, similar to that of the legendary Sharp who won world titles in 1988 and 1990. McBride said he’s a huge fan of Sharp who in 1988 became the first rider to stay on all 10 bulls at the National Finals Rodeo.

“I watched a lot of film on Jim Sharp growing up,” McBride said. “When he was in his prime, Jim Sharp was the best I’ve ever seen. I’ve tried to incorporate a few key things that I thought made him so successful. We don’t necessarily look the same. We’re built different and I’m not as strong as he was. But the key thing was that Jim kept his head down as he rode and never let bulls get him out of position.”

McBride also said he had learned to approach each ride like Murray, who holds a record seven world all-around titles and has two gold bull riding buckles. Murray was known for not overthinking what a bull might do beforehand.

“Some of the bulls, you can’t help but know about them because you see them week end and week out,” McBride said. “But I still try to not get a game plan for them. Bull riding happens so fast and it’s such a sport of reaction. It doesn’t matter what they did the last time, you have to ride them this time and react to whatever they do.”

That approach has worked for the Elk City, Okla., cowboy, who won a record seventh regular-season event at the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series show June 24 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

McBride, 27, broke a record that he shared with 1999 world champion Cody Hart. McBride also won six events in 2005.

This year, McBride’s other victories have come at Sacramento, Tampa, New Orleans, Kansas City, Omaha, Neb., and Auburn Hills, Mich.

“It’s cool to break the record, but what I’d really like to do is break it again next weekend,” McBride said. “It’s a really good feeling and I think I might reflect on it once I retire and say this was really good year. It’s been my experience if you get into reading the headlines and thinking too much about what you’ve done, you kind of quit focusing on what you need to be doing the rest of the year.”

In Dallas, McBride pocketed $45,821, which pushed his season earning to almost $420,000. Since he turned pro in 1999, he’s career earning of almost $3.5 million is tops among PBR competitors.

In this year’s PBR world-title race, which is based on points, McBride leads North Carolina cowboy J.B. Mauney, 9,426.75 to 7.992.25.

At Dallas, McBride finished as the only cowboy who stayed on all three bulls. Last year, he won in Dallas despite being bucked off his final bull, along with the other 14 finalists. McBride won by default because he entered the final with highest aggregate score on two rides.

When the title was at stake in the final round this year, McBride turned in a score of 88.5 aboard a bull named Dreamin, which spun to the right during the eight-second ride.

“I don’t think he’s a contender for bull of the year, but he’s a solid bull,” McBride said.



A talented artist

Sculptor Kelly Graham is a former bull rider and a big fan of the sport’s elite, including defending world champion Adriano Moraes and the three-time world champion bull Little Yellow Jacket.

He was commissioned to produce a life-size bronze of Moraes aboard the bull. The bronze, which will grace the PBR’s headquarters in Pueblo, Colo., was unveiled last weekend when the PBR tour stopped in Dallas.

Graham’s work is amazing. There’s Little Yellow Jacket, the PBR’s top bull in 2002-2004, making a sharp descent and spinning faster than a carnival ride. And there’s the muscular Moraes with the sleeve of his left riding arm rolled up and his biceps bulging.

“I’m a PBR fanatic,” said Graham, a Weatherford resident who worked on the bronze for 14 months. “I know as much about some of those bulls as those riders.”

As a bull rider, Graham competed across North Texas in the 1970s. So, when he portrays bull riders, he can grasp their unique riding style.

“If you look very close, it resembles me a lot,” said Moraes, a Brazilian now living near Tyler who won a record three world PBR titles.

For more information on the artist, visit www.kellygraham.net.



Remembering Shoulders

When Ty Murray learned that 16-time world champion Jim Shoulders had died (on June 20), it brought back lots of memories. Murray recalled a scene at the 1993 National Finals Rodeo, a night when he could have been content with earning a fourth-place check in the round. But Murray opted to take a reride and finished second, which proved to make the difference in a very close world-title race that Murray won.

Shoulders noticed Murray’s willingness to take a risk.

“He told me that’s what being a cowboy is all about,” said Murray, who is retired and is a TV rodeo sports commentator.



PRCA update

Wesley Silcox, of Payson, Utah, was the big money winner at the Reno, Nev., Rodeo. Silcox earned $15,934 and the bull riding title after a 90-point ride on Big Bend Rodeo’s Rapid Reloader on June 24. Add that to his $13,262 he won at the Xtreme Bulls show on June 14 and Silcox had a total take of $28,146.

The Reno Rodeo traditionally is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s first major summer show.

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