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Cowboy Diaries: Casey Colletti -- Bareback Riding Does Not Squeeze Horses' Balls

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​True cowboys and cowgirls 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 their boots to call themselves a cowboy -- and mean it.

Name: Casey Colletti Age: 25 Hometown: Pueblo, Colorado Event: Bareback riding

I grew up around rodeo -- my dad rodeoed for 20-plus years riding bareback. I started riding bulls and stuff, and then I grew out of it. Bareback riding was easier, and I didn't get hurt as bad.

Besides rodeoing, I work for a construction company in the wintertime. We build some big, nice, fancy houses. If I go broke rodeoing, I'll do it and build houses at the same time.

Injurywise, knock on wood, I haven't been bad bad hurt. I had a horse a couple years ago flip on me and break my foot...It's just kind of whatever. I had elbow surgery, a horse kicked me in the face once. I had 18 or 20 stitches up into my lip, it just split my lip wide open. Most of the time when you get hurt, it's just a freak accident. It doesn't happen all the time, you know what I mean?

When I'm not rodeoing, I do nothing. I play PlayStation or Xbox, and go hunting. Me and my dad are partners on a farm ranch. We farm 30-plus acres. I try not to have to do that, because then I have to go home and work, and I don't want to do that.

When I'm on the road, I go to water parks! We play at the water parks all the time in the summer. Anywhere, it doesn't matter. If we got time and we see a water park, we'll go.

My most random rodeo story happened while driving to a rodeo; we stopped off in Jackson, Mississippi. We went to Walmart, and they were having church service in Walmart. It was awesome.

Rodeo is different from football. Which football player is going to come sit up here and sign autographs for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour? I mean, seriously. They're down in the locker room, they win or lose, they leave. That's why cowboys are a little bit different. We like hanging out with the fans, you know what I mean? Sometimes there's hot girls out there, too.

Misconceptions about rodeo are that people think we're hurting the animals. That's 100 percent false. Everything we do in rodeo actually favors the animal, from the bareback riding to the calf roping to steer wrestling. They get a head start, they got an opportunity to outrun us. They have big heavy calves in calf-roping, so they maybe can't tie them down. In bareback riding, we've got pads in our bareback riggings. There's sheepskin on the flank strap. Everybody thinks it squeezes their balls, which it doesn't at all. It's just like tightening your belt real tight.

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