While I was at home during the Christmas holidays, some things changed and I also learned some new things. One night, while visiting the Jones family, at their home in Delburne, AB, I realized something that was quite obvious but that I did not fully understand until that night. What happened was that while we were talking about rodeo and all the things that happened last year, we got to the topic of fitness and how it affects rodeo contestants.
In terms of fitness, most of us are pretty fit to begin with when we begin our rodeo career. Starting the rodeo can be much more difficult when you are not in physical shape. Once you discover a system, it becomes a lot easier. I see that more young contestants will be more successful at the rodeo in the future when physical fitness, flexibility and good nutrition are valued more deeply. Different transitions also play a role.
The biggest that I have seen in some competitors of different values that I am friends with is when they stop being part of organized sports. I know that when I made the most money riding bulls it was only a month after being on the ice three times a day playing hockey and in the gym on days off. It was easy to do this at the time. I remember being able to do 15 pull-ups and over 30 single leg squats like it wasn’t a big deal. I tried it the other day, and I could barely do six pull-ups, and it hurt my knee to do regular squats.
A big difference related to being in good physical shape involves flexibility and just being able to be more resistant.
Guess when I started to injure myself? Not long after I finished playing hockey. Anyone looking at it from the outside would see this. I had to break my collarbone and dislocate my shoulder a couple of times to see for myself. For some, it could be just motivation. They think they can get by without going to the gym and just being a cowboy, or being tough about it. Even if you are in good shape and in the best physical condition, you may still hurt yourself. The truth is that when you are in good shape your mind is also in a better state. With all cylinders firing at 100 percent, your chances of injury decrease; therefore, it increases your longevity in sport.
Being in good physical shape is a big part of our sport. And physical fitness involves other aspects like chiropractic treatment and massage therapy. Both help keep you at your highest fitness levels. Chiropractors have been the most helpful I have come across so far. I dislocated my shoulder on June 19, 2009 in Killam, AB and with the help of my chiropractor I was able to reassemble 100 percent on July 3 in Brazil. Now this was not just any chiropractor. If you are looking for someone who can help you in this way, you need to find a chiropractor who practices Active Release Techniques (ART).
ART helps you quickly regain strength in muscles that were previously injured or strained from previous trauma. A chiropractor qualified to use the Graston tools will also be of great benefit.
After the first round of the 2009 WPB Finals, Miles Pennington found himself unable to straighten his back when walking or leaning forward to put on shoes or boots without feeling severe lower back pain.
He contemplated leaving because he knew that if he went up there was a high probability that he would fall and possibly hurt him even more. He made the decision to seek help and find treatment so he could ride the next night. With the help of chiropractic Dr. Nicole Fox of Red Deer, Alberta, on New Year’s Eve, Miles was able to compete; He even rode his bull that night and took home some money.
Although I am a bull rider, health is my number one value in my life. Without health, a person would really have nothing worthwhile in his life, I suppose. Now, it could be said that being a bull rider and having health as the number one value are contradictory values. I see this as perhaps a little true; However, being a bull rider is sometimes hard on your body, but that’s part of the game. I see riding bulls as a way of living my life on my own terms. There have been times when I have thought of doing things differently. When I think deeply about it, I think more about what really worries me and I realize that a person can get hurt anywhere.
We, as cowboys, are our own bosses. Unlike other professional athletes, we do not have athletic trainers by our side at all times of each day to attend to every complaint and pain. We may have things that bother us and we don’t do anything about it because we don’t have time, or we just don’t take the time to take care of it. Some people think the way forward is to pick up Cowboy and deal with the pain. I love being a cowboy and a bull rider and I would say that I am both. I would also say that I am an athlete. However, since we do not have coaches waiting for us like other professional athletes in sports, such as hockey or soccer, we must take matters into our own hands.
There are rodeo cowboys who take care of themselves and then there are those who don’t take care of themselves. We can all make our own decisions at the rodeo. We don’t have a coach or boss to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do, what we should and shouldn’t eat or drink, and whether or not we should go to the doctor when something may be wrong.
Those who take care of themselves are the ones who most of the time manage to advance in the sport. I’ve seen a few different people in my short career have to quit because they didn’t take care of themselves when they were my age or younger. You are the controller of your own destiny, the decisions you make will ultimately help you to follow the course of your life. You can live it however you want.
This article is my opinion. I am writing to inform you of some of the things that I have learned that I believe will be of benefit to you. I hope you enjoy reading my articles. I’m sure I enjoy writing them and some people’s responses have helped me.