One hell of a ride

by | Apr 29, 2020 | People | 0 comments

If you have ever wondered what makes someone want to climb on a 900+ kilogram bull and try to hold on for a full eight seconds, you aren’t alone. Yet every year, bull riders do just that, over and over again. 

There is no secret that the sport is risky. In 2007 a rodeo injury database created by Dale Butterwick, a sports epidemiologist with the University of Calgary, showed that rodeo was 20 times more dangerous than football. However, This doesn’t seem to stop those who love the sport. 

Dakota Buttar attempts to ride Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Ken Barnhard’s Talking Smack during the third round of the Billings PBR Unleash the Beast. Photo by Andy Watson

Dakota Buttar, a Canadian bull rider from Saskatchewan, seems to have just been born into the sport. With a father who rode and a sister who was also a part of the rodeo, Buttar was always around it and said, “I was always around it and just grew up with it.” So what could be the best part of the rodeo for a bull rider? It might not be what you’d think. For Buttar, it’s simple: “It’s a different lifestyle, I don’t know how to explain it. Everyone involved is very tight-knit; we are all on the road together, and we are like one big family.”

“We can’t always travel with our families, so when we are on the road, if one of us gets hurt or something happens, we all sort of go to the hospital together. We look out for one another,” Buttar said about his fellow bull riders. 

Even so, the question still presents itself: what makes a person want to climb aboard a bull? “I was just hooked on it! When you make a good ride, there is just no better feeling you feel unstoppable with the adrenaline rush,” Buttar explained. 

Buttar started like many in the rodeo circuit do, at a young age riding a steer. When asked about first-time jitters, he expressed none. “When I first started on a steer, I was eight. I didn’t fear anything because I didn’t really know the possibility of getting hurt. I was just having fun, and my friends were all doing it too. At 14, I got my first bull, and there were definitely nerves, they never really go away, but nothing really changes. You just get more comfortable and confident.” 

Dakota Buttar. Studio shoot at the Sacramento PBR Unleash The Beast. Photo by Andy Watson

Buttar competes in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit, which has a nationwide and worldwide standing. Buttar has started 2020 off with a bang, placing first in the PBR nationwide standing and 21st worldwide. He will tell you that as far as riding goes, there is no place like home. He loves competing right here in Canada. 

What does a bull rider do on his days off? Well, recoup, of course. For Buttar, he is well aware that he can’t ride bulls forever but doesn’t see a time where he won’t be involved in the rodeo. He has, however, taken years of accounting, something he hopes will help him once his bull-riding days are done. Until such a time, he can be found on the circuit doing what he loves. Well, as soon as this pandemic is over, of course. 

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Claudia Steele

The Griff


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