LAS VEGAS – For 11 months, ProRodeo’s best cowboys fight through the rigors of the regular season with hopes of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
It involves hard work, long hours and many miles, crisscrossing the country to compete at rodeos from Oregon to Florida and everywhere in between. It takes a toll on their bodies, so when time allows, they do what they can to remain in strong physical condition. They are, after all, elite athletes.
For the 30-plus cowboys and cowgirls who are part Team MGM Grand during the rugged 10-day marathon, they need to continue to keep their bodies toned when they arrive in the City of Lights. That’s why they take advantage of the fitness centers that are available on the MGM Grand properties during their stay.
“I go through a mini routine of what I do at home in the gym,” said Bobby Mote, the four-time and reigning world champion bareback rider from Culver, Ore. “I warm up on the bike, do some free-weight exercises. I use the big fitness balls and do some core-strengthening exercises on those. That engages your core and does balance.”
That’s helpful for a man who rides the greatest bucking horses better than most.
“I don’t go into it near the extend I do trying to get ready to be here,” he said. “In Vegas, I’m just maintaining.”
All roughstock cowboys – bareback riders, saddle bronc riders and bull riders – need to hone quickness and strength in their core in order to maintain balance and allow themselves to handle the moves issued by their much larger counterparts. Bucking horses weigh about 1,200 pounds, while bulls are upwards of 1,600.
“In my event, I need short, quick bursts,” Mote said. “Where somebody else might practice endurance, ours is in intervals.”
Team roper Brady Tryan, a header from Huntley, Mont., who won the eighth round with partner Jake Long, utilizes the treadmill during his workouts.
“I feel better after I do it, and I’m going to pace around my room either way, so I may as well be down there jogging,” he said. “I’ve been running the last couple of months, and I just kept doing it while I’ve been out here.”
The fitness center is another benefit Tryan sees in his two-week stay at The Signature at MGM Grand.
“You can’t ask for a better place to stay,” he said. “They treat you first class around there. They take care of us really good.”
Mote, who suffered a lacerated pancreas at a rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in August, has been rehabilitating his body for several weeks. What he’s been doing has worked quite well in the last few go-rounds – after not placing in the first four nights of competition, Mote placed each night from Monday-Thursday, including victories in Rounds 6 and 8.
“For me, it’s about keeping things flexible, keeping things strong,” he said. “Range of motion is much more than trying to max out on weights.”