True cowboys are hard to find, but not at the Houston Rodeo. Life on the road leads them here this time every year for the biggest rodeo in the world, where they'll ride and wrangle livestock for cash and glory. Each day, Hair Balls will spotlight one person with enough dirt on his boots to call himself a cowboy -- and mean it.
Name: Bobby Mote Age: 34 Hometown: Portland, Oregon Event: Bareback
Mote wanders into the sports injury room staffed by volunteer doctors. He grabs a huge bottle of pills, asks if it's Ibuprofen, and starts pouring them into his hand. "Big bottle, big pills, big results," he says.
"Every year he's in here," whispers Dr. Michael Kent, orthopedic surgeon for the Bone & Joint Clinic. "He had something stuck in his ear one year, and he ripped the abdominal muscles off of his pelvis, like, yesterday. The biggest question for the trainers is always, 'Can I go, Doc?'"
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Ripped my abdominal wall riding bareback, I guess.
I got into rodeo because of peer pressure, mostly. I started riding in high school. I guess there's worse things I coulda got into when I was 15.
My pre-rodeo ritual is hackeysacking. We were bored. We didn't even take up hackeysacking till we were, what, 30? There's only so much you can do to get ready to ride. You never get the chance to exercise when you're traveling, and this doesn't hurt our hand-eye coordination either.
If I didn't rodeo, I'd be doing something dangerous, probably. I've never really thought about it.