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Dalton Kasel flashes brilliance during surge in PBR standings

Dalton Kasel isn’t one to brag. So his colleagues do it for him.

“He’s got a great long career ahead of him. He’s doing what we’ve all got to do, and that’s make the whistle,” said veteran cowboy Chase Outlaw, ranked No. 3 in the Pro Bull Riders world standings. “I guarantee that if Dalton had been here since January, he would be right here in the middle of the world title race.”

Kasel, 20, qualified for the PBR midway through the season and is ranked No. 7 in the world standings despite limited competition. He earned his way onto the tour by competing in lower level professional events and has since surged toward the top of the standings with three event victories and 12 round victories.

“I’m having fun and I’m enjoying riding bulls,” said Kasel, who is competing in the PBR World Finals that continue through Sunday at T-Mobile Arena. “I’m just having a good time.”

Kasel grew up in Muleshoe, Texas, but doesn’t not come from a bull riding background like so many other cowboys on the PBR Tour. He says he always wanted to be a bull rider, though, and cultivated an interest in the sport independently of any external influence.

He watched bull riding highlights and started training on his own, first riding competitively at the age of 14.

“I love it so much. I eat it up. It wasn’t that I had to make up ground. If anything it motivated me to try harder and keep hustling,” Kasel said. “I would crack something. I would ride something and I felt like that was just like the next step, and then I’d hit a new level. I just kept proceeding and I hit a new level, a new level and a new level.”

Kasel attended Howard College and competed in collegiate rodeos. He finished the 2019 College Rodeo as the bull riding runner-up and parlayed his success onto the Touring Pro tour, which prepares riders for the PBR.

He emerged as a regular on the top tour in June with his first event victory, and won additional events in July and August.

“All of a sudden he showed up in the second half (of the season), and everybody is like ‘Who is this kid?’,” said veteran PBR announcer Matt West. “To watch a kid like this — with that much talent — grow and climb the ladder so fast and be so humble about it, that’s the best part of the whole thing.”

Kasel was bucked off in 3.9 seconds in the PBR World Finals on Thursday night but scored 88.5 in the opener on Wednesday as one of 11 cowboys to complete a ride. He sports a youthful demeanor and said he wants to win as many world titles as he can.

West says Kasel has the potential to someday fulfill that goal. Though winning the respect of his peers will have to do for now.

“He’s not big on doing interviews or talking about his story. … He’d rather brag on the other guys,” West said. “When they see a young kid like this that that’s talented, all of a sudden they (embrace him) in the locker room. He’s one of the guys.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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