Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: Teeth Knocked Out In High School

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: Olin Hannum
Age: 32
Hometown: West Haven, Utah
Event: Steer wrestling

I got into rodeo because I grew up watching my dad. He was a steer wrestler, part of the [Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association] for several years, and me and my brothers grew up watching him. I was real young when I started. We had a pony at home that we used to ride, and I remember there was one rodeo in the fall of each year we'd go to. I roped calves some, and I rode steers when I was a kid, but I didn't like getting stepped on or bucked off, so that ended that career pretty fast.

I'm on the road quite a bit. I've been in Texas since about the 15th of January, seems like going to at least a couple rodeos a week, sometimes more, just driving from rodeo to rodeo. We'll have a couple weeks off finally after tomorrow night and get to fly home. I try to go home, but it's hard to make a living at this when you spend a lot of money, so we're just pinching pennies everywhere we can.

If I didn't rodeo, I'd work at home. I own a cabinet business, I do kitchen cabinets, entertainment centers, that sort of thing. In the winter and fall when things slow down rodeoing, that's what I do. Right now, I'm not exactly sure when I quit [rodeo], or I guess I don't know when the time will be right.

Each year in rodeo it seems like these big rodeos like Houston are trying to get better and better, and they're trying to accommodate us, so that's been real nice. I bought my first [professional] permit when I was 18, and I don't know what the biggest change has been since then. If I was to step away, I'd probably notice more things that have changed.

The craziest thing that's happened to me this year is the big wreck I took last night. The steer stepped into my horse and my horse almost fell down and stumbled, then the steer fell down. I was hanging on to the side and did this big ol' somersault. It was pretty wild. I banged my head in the dirt. I knocked my teeth out in high school. The steer stopped and I missed the horn and knocked out my teeth.

The best advice I've been given as far as rodeo goes is that there are highs and lows, and if you can learn to work through the highs and the lows, not get too high or too low, is seems like it's easier to handle the overall picture in this thing. Because in rodeo, there will be good times and a lot of bad times, and your character shows during the bad times.

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight