Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Owen Washburn reflects on his bull riding career as he prepares to be honored

It takes a special combo of talent and swagger to conquer some of the rankest bulls in the PBR, and 1996 World Champion Owen Washburn put both of those on full display seven years after he won his only gold buckle. It was in Bossier City, Louisiana, in 2003 when Washburn became the first rider to conquer the unridden Hammer, who was 23-0 at the time, by riding Tony Sharp’s bovine athlete during a bonus round matchup. If that wasn’t enough, the 30-year-old made it two in a row aboard Hammer by riding him again for 92.5 points to earn a then PBR record $125,210 in one event. “Most guys that ride bulls need money, just like everybody does,” Washburn said. “That is what I did for a living and I loved getting on rank bulls. Washburn’s first ride was away from his left-riding hand, and his final ride aboard Hammer went into his hand. The New Mexico native understood his first successful 8 seconds would be viewed as a fluke if he failed to ride Hammer the second night. “Whenever I drew him the next night, I thought everybody would say, ‘Yeah he got lucky last night and Hammer came back tonight and bucked a lot harder.’ I knew that time I had to ride him just to keep everybody quiet.” Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said, “That was a bull that gave a lot of people fits. He just rode him dead easy. Owen would do that on a regular basis.” Washburn said that you could argue the two-month stretch he had around his Hammer ride was the best run of his career. “That was as good a stretch of bull riding that I ever had,” he said. “I would make the short go and there wasn’t one I didn’t want. What I always think about bull riding is some people never get in the zone in life and I am thankful and grateful I got in the zone. “There is nothing like that feeling.” Washburn was certainly “in the zone” when he won the third World Championship in PBR history in 1996. He is one of only 15 bull riders in the world that can say they are a PBR World Champion.  Murray said that Washburn had a couple of seasons where he “epitomized swagger and confidence.”...more

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