2011 PRCA Resistol Rookies of the Year class | TSLN.com

2011 PRCA Resistol Rookies of the Year class

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Chandler Bownds’ middle name is Cash. It’s a surname from his mother’s side of the family. He has dollar signs on his chaps and boots to play off the name and also to pay tribute to bull riding great Wacey Cathey, who also rode with dollars signs on his chaps. “It has become sort of my trademark,” Bownds said.

In a sport that measures progress and accomplishment by money won – cash – it all seems a more-than-fitting trademark for Bownds, one of the most gifted and exciting young bull riding talents to reach the PRCA in a few years.

Bownds spotted Cody Teel and the rest of the field 4.5 months at the start of the season before buying his card on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, and still had a sweetheart of a season in becoming the Resistol Bull Riding Rookie of the Year and the only first-year guy to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011.

He is joined in the Rookie of the Year rolls by bareback rider J.R. Vezain, steer wrestler Ty Erickson, team ropers Joshua Torres and Dakota Kirchenschlager, saddle bronc rider Sterling Crawley, tie-down roper Jud Nowotny and steer roper Rob Denny.

“The key to being successful (as a bull rider) is staying confident,” Bownds said. “I mean, you have to go out there 110 percent sure of yourself, believing no bull can throw you off.”

And certainly Bownds has shown no signs of backing down. Since he bought his card, he’s competed in an average of 3.2 rodeos a week for 30 weeks. That comes to 96 rodeos, the ninth-highest total among PRCA bull riders, and he used those opportunities to bank $72,972 and finish the regular season 10th in the world standings.

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“I rodeoed my butt off,” Bownds said. “I really haven’t been home (to Lubbock, TX) since Rodeo Austin (in late March).”

He won the short round at Cheyenne (WY) Frontier Days on his 20th birthday (July 31), entered the Top 15 for the first time by winning the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Lovington, NM (Aug. 13) and tied the arena record with a 95-point ride at the Ellensburg (WA) Rodeo (Sept. 5) to become the first rookie bull rider since Douglas Duncan in 2008 to qualify for the Wrangler NFR.

Bownds sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder while making an 84-point ride in the first round of the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, Sept. 22 – putting him out of the $724,688 rodeo – or otherwise he might have been somewhere closer to the top six in the final regular-season standings.

“That (the injury) cost me a lot of money, but I should be fine for the Wrangler NFR,” Bownds said. “I have a rehab program I’m about to start, and I’ve got plenty of time to get ready.”

He’s fine with the idea that he will go to Las Vegas as an underdog, over-looked.

At 5-0, 125 pounds, he’s used to that.

“People look at me and see this little bitty kid,” Bownds said. “I know I look a lot younger than I am. I get mistaken for being 16 or 17 all the time. It’s OK that people doubt me. I just keep working hard and eventually they see I can ride.”

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Chandler Bownds’ middle name is Cash. It’s a surname from his mother’s side of the family. He has dollar signs on his chaps and boots to play off the name and also to pay tribute to bull riding great Wacey Cathey, who also rode with dollars signs on his chaps. “It has become sort of my trademark,” Bownds said.

In a sport that measures progress and accomplishment by money won – cash – it all seems a more-than-fitting trademark for Bownds, one of the most gifted and exciting young bull riding talents to reach the PRCA in a few years.

Bownds spotted Cody Teel and the rest of the field 4.5 months at the start of the season before buying his card on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, and still had a sweetheart of a season in becoming the Resistol Bull Riding Rookie of the Year and the only first-year guy to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011.

He is joined in the Rookie of the Year rolls by bareback rider J.R. Vezain, steer wrestler Ty Erickson, team ropers Joshua Torres and Dakota Kirchenschlager, saddle bronc rider Sterling Crawley, tie-down roper Jud Nowotny and steer roper Rob Denny.

“The key to being successful (as a bull rider) is staying confident,” Bownds said. “I mean, you have to go out there 110 percent sure of yourself, believing no bull can throw you off.”

And certainly Bownds has shown no signs of backing down. Since he bought his card, he’s competed in an average of 3.2 rodeos a week for 30 weeks. That comes to 96 rodeos, the ninth-highest total among PRCA bull riders, and he used those opportunities to bank $72,972 and finish the regular season 10th in the world standings.

“I rodeoed my butt off,” Bownds said. “I really haven’t been home (to Lubbock, TX) since Rodeo Austin (in late March).”

He won the short round at Cheyenne (WY) Frontier Days on his 20th birthday (July 31), entered the Top 15 for the first time by winning the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Lovington, NM (Aug. 13) and tied the arena record with a 95-point ride at the Ellensburg (WA) Rodeo (Sept. 5) to become the first rookie bull rider since Douglas Duncan in 2008 to qualify for the Wrangler NFR.

Bownds sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder while making an 84-point ride in the first round of the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, Sept. 22 – putting him out of the $724,688 rodeo – or otherwise he might have been somewhere closer to the top six in the final regular-season standings.

“That (the injury) cost me a lot of money, but I should be fine for the Wrangler NFR,” Bownds said. “I have a rehab program I’m about to start, and I’ve got plenty of time to get ready.”

He’s fine with the idea that he will go to Las Vegas as an underdog, over-looked.

At 5-0, 125 pounds, he’s used to that.

“People look at me and see this little bitty kid,” Bownds said. “I know I look a lot younger than I am. I get mistaken for being 16 or 17 all the time. It’s OK that people doubt me. I just keep working hard and eventually they see I can ride.”

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