Going old school

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I had a wonderful visit with one of bull riding’s greats on Saturday, and I learned many things from Cody Custer in the process.

In talking about the importance of fundamentals, Custer revealed a lesson he learned from ProRodeo Hall of Famer Denny Flynn, who prepared for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo by going back to the basics. In fact, Custer said, Flynn purchased two pasture bulls, not animals that were bred to be rodeo bulls.

And for 30 days prior to the NFR, Flynn rodeo both those bulls. Not once in 60 tries did Flynn get bucked off. But he didn’t expect to get knocked into the dirt by a couple of pasture bulls. He was just working on technique, getting his rhythm, preparing his mind and building his confidence. That year, he rode nine of 10 bulls at the NFR.

Fast-forward to 2010. Corey Navarre of Weatherford, Okla., took the same approach. When he got to Las Vegas this past December, he rode six bulls at the NFR, finished second in the average, won nearly $70,000 and finished fourth in the final world standings with $146,120.

Going back to the basics was a good move for Flynn and Navarre. Maybe more bull riders should consider that lesson.


Comments (3)
kay behm / February 14, 2011

Hi Ted, still having puter problems so just now getting to check this out. I loved it but I love anything about Cody and Cory. Keep up the good work. OKC was fun yesterday. I was with Mary and Lee and Jada and one of their friends. Jada is such fun and boy does she keep Mary hopping. Lee continues to improve. If you want to see him glow just come see him at Camp of Champions sometime. He adores being with the kids and the bulls and his buddies like Cody and Cory who are there every year. Stran Smith and Alan Bach are regulars and countless others and their wives and husbands. And Lee just thrives on all of it. He does stuff like running the chutes and running around with our LPN on her golf cart. Cody has built a lasting legacy of young ones like Cory who do their darnddest to emulate him. Is their a young Christian bullrider alive today who hasn’t felt his influence? I have yet to meet them.

Ted Stovin / February 15, 2011

Hey Ted,

This is a great idea. I think one of the reasons why this doesn’t happen more is because we bull riders don’t have these bulls around. Not very many contractors have these beginner bulls.

Bull riding practice shouldn’t be getting on tough bulls and hoping to stay on. Like you said these ones allow a guy to train his mind. You just can’t train your mind very well getting bucked off half of the time.

I guess what I need to do is find the contractors that have a couple of these bulls or save up to buy my own.

Ted Harbin / February 15, 2011


I think this might be something best fit for you, not a stock contractor. Invest in your future. I doubt you’ll have many opportunities to purchase a herd bull for your use in that rather large community in which you live, but it’s something you can consider in a few years when you’ve gathered some equity.

It’s like considering investing in a bull riding school. You can invest $500 on a school and work on things to help you along the way, or you can continue to pay $125 entry fees at bull ridings where you buck off so fast that you learn nothing about what might be causing you problems. Four bull ridings later, you’re still out $500, but what have you gained?


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