Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: On The Road With Howdy Cloud
Bull rider Beau Schroeder.
Photos by Bryan Williams
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 little bit about himself and his wildest story from a life of rodeo.
Name: Beau Schroeder
Hometown: China, Texas
Event: Bull riding
I got into rodeo when I was about five, because my dad made me do it. I was riding calves, and I hated every second of it. I was a kid, and I just wanted to play at the rodeos. But in high school, it became something I wanted to do every day. I saw I could make a living doing it, and I didn't want to do nothing else. Nothing but rodeo.
If I didn't rodeo, I have no idea what I'd do and I don't really want to think about it. I can't see myself doing anything but rodeo, because there's nothing else I'd like to do, nothing else I'd want to do.
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I'm on the road about half the time. During the summer, we leave and are gone all summer long, from the middle of June to the end of September. There are a few places we fly to, but mostly we drive. I was traveling with some friends in 2007, and they were here there and everywhere. We left for the summer, and after one week they all went home and I was stuck out by myself. I saw [bull rider] Howdy Cloud, and Howdy let me jump in with him. Since then, we've had one more travel with us. I ain't never left [Cloud]. He's too good to leave.
The worst thing about rodeo is being gone so much. You get where you miss your family a whole lot, and you just want to go home and see them. At the same time, you're just trying to make a living, support yourself, and you don't want to put that in jeopardy, so you might as well just get over it and deal with it.
The only time I thought about quitting was after I broke my leg twice. I broke it right at the end of 2007 and again in 2008. It made me sit back and think whether I want to do this, whether it was worth it. That was the only time I even questioned it.
The best thing about rodeo is living day by day and not having a care in the world. Just getting on bulls and making money. There are thousands of people who would love to do what I do everyday.
If someone wanted to get into rodeo, I'd tell them just to keep their head up and not get discouraged when things fall bad. Just keep your head up, keep going, and don't ever quit.
The craziest thing I've seen in rodeo is that boy Jordan that goes with me and Howdy. He's a trip, never a dull moment. He's about the craziest thing I've met in my life.
Beau Schroeder riding a bull.
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