Ryan McConnel rides 4L & Diamond S’s Big Iron for 88.25 during the third round of the Albuquerque Built Ford Tough series PBR. (Photo by Andy Watson.)
Ryan McConnel has ridden in the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough World Finals each of the past three years and also competed in the 2010 PBR World Cup in Las Vegas. He suffered a punctured lung in an automobile accident before the 2009 Finals, but still competed and rode three of his first four bulls. He was stepped on in Round 5 and aggravated the injury, making him unable to compete. The Farmington, N.M., native who now lives in Atoka, Okla., has finished in the Top 10 each of the past two years and is currently ranked eighth in the BFTS standings.
“I’m really looking forward to the Last Cowboy Standing’ on Saturday," McConnel said.
“I feel that I missed out at the Iron Cowboy. I rode longer than Austin Meier in the quarterfinals, but landed on my neck. I had to go to the hospital for X-rays, so I was out of the competition. I have thought what would have happened if I had been able to keep competing. In the finals, if Austin gets one more jump then maybe he beats Colby Yates. That is the kind of moment that I want to be in – that all-or-nothing type of deal.
“I like the format for ‘Last Cowboy Standing’ better than the Iron Cowboy.
“If you look at the ‘Iron Cowboy,’ J.B. Mauney makes a really good ride and scores 90 points. But he doesn’t advance because Colby Yates made a great ride for 92.25 points. L.J. Jenkins was in the same situation. He scores 88 points, but doesn’t move on because Valdiron de Oliveira had 90.5 points. I think this event is a little fairer, because if you ride you get to keep going.
“I’m not saying that it is going to be any easier in Las Vegas. But at least if you ride you can advance. I’ve been thinking that if more than one guy rides five bulls, then maybe there should be extra bulls to keep going. But maybe five bulls will be enough. We know the caliber of bulls that will be there, so it still isn’t going to be easy to ride for a full 8 seconds. It is going to really be a test of not only your ability to ride, but also your toughness and stamina.
“I’m not sure how it will go.
“Guess we’ll all have to wait until Saturday night to find out.
“The one thing I do know for sure is that whoever is the ‘Last Cowboy Standing’ will have earned every penny of that $200,000."