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: Isaac Diaz Age: 24 Hometown: Davie, Florida Event: Saddle Bronc
I started saddle bronc riding when I was about 15. My first experience riding broncs was at a high school rodeo, and actually my stirrup broke on my first horse. I ended up falling off -- the first time I ever got on a bucking horse.
The worst injury I ever got was last year, when I broke my back at a college rodeo. When they opened up the gate, the horse fell on me in the chute. It took me about a month to recover. I just broke one vertebra in my back, nothing was out of place, so I was fortunate.
Cowboys recover quickly because we aren't like any sport out there. We don't get paid to sit at home. If we're not riding, we're not paying the bills.
If I weren't rodeoing, honestly, I couldn't tell you. Hopefully I'll be doing this till I'm early '40s or something, I imagine.
Cowboy mode is a whole different lifestyle. Like if we go in big cities and stuff, we can hardly stand being there. There's a whole different attitude that we're not used to, a whole different culture, all the traffic and all that. It's just completely different from what we were brought up in. I honestly think people are a lot more polite in smaller towns.
The best part of rodeo is the people. You go up and down the road with all the guys all year long -- it's a blast. The majority of everybody here, we all know.
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