Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: Maybe Reaching The End Of The Road

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Steer wrestler Brad McGilchrist
Rodeo cowboys basically live on the road, traveling with men and women crazy enough to ride, rope and wrestle live animals for a paycheck. Each day, Hair Balls is asking a different cowboy to tell us a bit about himself and his wildest story from a life of rodeo.

Name: Brad McGilchrist
Age: 30
Hometown: Marysville, California
Event: Steer wrestling

I got into rodeo because it was something I was interested in. I had some friends that lived close to me that did it, and I got to hanging out with them. I started when I was real young, doing like junior stock, riding steers and stuff like that. I was about 17 or 18 when I started steer wrestling.

When I'm on the road, it's pretty hectic. From January until the end of September, I'm gone all the time. You get a week here or there to go home, but it's pretty busy, especially in the summer. I'm pretty much going to a rodeo or two rodeos every day, it seems like. It's pretty much a full-time job. It's nice when you get to be at home a week or two at a time, but we do 70 events a year, and a lot of events are two or three days long, and you're going to be there for a little while.

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I don't always ride my own horse, because when I come down to Texas in the winter time, I fly down and ride someone else's horse. That way I can fly back home and do some work or do whatever at home. In the spring and summer, when I'm gone all the time, I take my own horse and get in with a group of guys and drive pretty much everywhere.

There's nothing good in rodeo that's happened to me that really sticks out. I've placed deep in a couple major rodeos, but nothing that I'm too proud of. I travel with the same group of guys, and right now, everyone seems to get along. But things happen. I've been in rigs where people don't get along. You spend enough time with people, you're bound to have some kind of disagreement.

If I didn't rodeo, I'd shoe horses. I shoe horses when I'm home, and I shoe horses for the rodeo. That's my profession and that's what I plan to do when I'm not rodeoing.

Quitting the rodeo crosses my mind a lot, especially with the amount of money it costs to go do this. It's not something you really do for the money, you do it because you love it. But the longer it goes on, the longer you realize that at some point you have to call it quits.

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