Cowboy Tales From The Rodeo: Yep, This One's Named "Dusty"

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: Dusty Tuckness
Age: 23
Hometown: Meeteetse, Wyoming
Event: Bullfighting

I got into rodeo because my dad did it, so I just grew up into it. Things kind of got started that way. I put on his shoes one day and never looked back. I rode a little bit, rode bulls for a little bit, but I didn't like it. I kind of like keeping my feet on the ground. The first rodeo I worked was in New Salem, North Dakota. It was just a rough stock rodeo. It sealed the deal and I've been going at it ever since.

I'm on the road for probably at least nine out of the 12 months of the year traveling. I've been to Canada, down to Texas, all the way over to California. Far east as Georgia. I was in Odessa during the first part of January, and Fort Worth after that. I have a pickup and a camper that sits in the back of my pickup, kind of a home away from home type deal. I do probably about 130 performances at about 55 events each year. Here at Houston, we have 20 performances.

Rodeo bullfighters are hired by the contractor or committee that puts on the rodeo. Those are the two ways to get hired. There are some rodeos me and Cory [Wall] will do together, some me and Clay [Collins] do together. Cory just come from San Angelo, Clay just come from San Antonio.

In the [Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association] there are probably 200 or 250 bullfighters in the business, so there are a lot of guys out there, so to get this rodeo is a blessing. Ten percent of [bullfighters] are working 90 percent of the good rodeos, and at the other rodeos, 90 percent of the bullfighters are working.

The best thing that happened to me last year was when I got voted into the NFR, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That was a dream come true. The top 20 bull riders in the world vote for the bullfighters to work that event.

I can't think of anything too negative that's happened this last year. I like going to rodeos, and I like fighting bulls. I want to fight bulls and I want to stay busy. I've had some injuries. I've broke some limbs, separated my shoulder, broke my hand, broke my ankle, broke toes, but I've got out of it pretty good for the most part.

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight