By Anna Thomas & Callie Rainey, Ozarks News Journal
Springfield, MO–Imagine fireworks, a roaring crowd and a raging bull you’re desperately trying to stay on for eight seconds against 37 determined bull riders.
Brady Sims, Professional Bull Riding rookie, says for him, that’s just another day at the office.
“You’ve been on so many, you’ve been to so many places that you don’t really think of it too much,” Sims said.
His love for the career started when he was a child being drug to mutton busting, or sheep riding, by his friend.
“I jumped on one and as soon as it came out, I fell off right off the back end of him. I got up crying and everything, but I’ve been stuck with it ever since,” Sims said.
A mere 21 years old, Sims has been professionally riding bulls for three years. His first debut was in Thackerville in 2012.
“Got a welcome to the big leagues there, and it didn’t work out too hot. But that just made me want it more so I just kept going and going and then finally worked my way here, and I’m going to try and stay here for as long as I can,” Sims said.
Sims didn’t have to travel far from his hometown of Holt, Missouri for the Built Ford Tough Series PFIWestern.com Invitational.
“It’s a blessing. I’ve been chasing this ever since I was five years old, and now to finally be here it’s kind of surreal. It’s not that it hasn’t’ set in, but it hasn’t set in just yet,” Sims said.
The excitement became more intense once Sims threw on his chaps, exchanged his red tennis shoes for cowboy boots, and started preparing for his first bull ride in JQH arena.
“You take roslin and put it on your rope, and it makes your rope sticky, so that it doesn’t blow out of your hand. You got your stretching, your taping, all that kind of stuff. Everybody has their own ritual,” Sims said.
And his biggest tip?
“Hang on tight. That’s about it. Anybody can hold on for eight seconds. Anybody can,” Sims said.
You can hear and feel the excitement in the audience, just imagine what it’s like on the bull.
“I’d probably compare it pretty close to skydiving. The adrenaline rush and just the feeling of it,” Sims said.
And like any sport, it comes with the chance of injury. The weekend before Sims rode in Springfield, he was stepped on by a bull named Shanghai Heat in Tennessee.
“I was doing the old day money drag, and whenever I come off, my hands kind of hung in the rope and he stepped right on the side of the face, dislocated my jaw and about ripped my ear off and all that good stuff,” Sims said.
While he is feeling better, Sims says he doesn’t like talking about the injury side because it could be a jinx.
“It’s part of the game, you know. Whenever I signed up to do this, I never thought it would be all marshmallows and cupcakes the whole time. I knew there was a chance of getting hurt,”
Zane Lambert, ranked in the top 15 for PBR, says to rookies, it’s all about getting back up on the bull.
“It’s a muscle memory thing like any other sport. You train, and train, and train, and you do it over and over again and your muscle reaction gets that much better,” Lambert said.
For Sims, he says he’s never one to hold a grudge on a bull.
“For me, I’m in the moment. I get hyped up right before and as soon as I’m off, I’m done,” Sims said.
That night, Sims rode for 54 championship points.
The fans though, Sims says, are what make it that much more thrilling, even with a bad run.
“These are the best fans in my opinion, of any sport because it doesn’t matter who you are, they just want to see a bull riding. You could be 71 points and they’re going to cheer like it was 105,” Sims said.
Sims says he plans to reach the top ten by world finals, be named rookie of the year, and always move toward bigger and better things.
“If you’re heart ain’t racing whenever you get out there, you aren’t doing something,” Sims said.
The World Finals will be in Las Vegas on October 22nd through 26th, awarding the winner with a championship buckle.