Kody Lostroh won his second straight battle with the bulls in the second round of the Professional Bull Riders World Finals at Mandalay Bay on Saturday night.
But the fights he engaged in with Bad Medicine and Savage Shaker — the bulls he rode for 90.5 points apiece en route to the Finals lead — were nothing compared to the arguments he had with his mother to let him climb aboard the 2,000-pound animals in the first place.
Lostroh, who captured PBR Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, said his mother signed him up to ride steers when he was 7, but she wasn’t prepared to watch her young son hop on a bull.
“She thought I’d quit when I had to ride bulls, but I didn’t want to. Man, she didn’t want me to ride bulls,” said Lostroh, 22. “She begged me and begged me, and I fought her to the end. Now she’s letting me be.
“She knows I’m chasing my dreams. To play it safe all the time, you can never really live.”
The 5-foot-6-inch, 155-pound Lostroh started riding bulls at age 11 and continued to do so despite breaking his back and legs as a teenager. His perseverance paid off as he won the 2003 national bull riding title in the Little Britches Rodeo Association and captured three consecutive Colorado high school bull riding crowns.
Lostroh was leading the college ranks in bull riding when he left the University of Wyoming after just one semester to join the PBR Tour.
“I kind of put all my eggs in one basket when I quit college and just did this full time,” he said. “It turned out to be a good decision. This is what’s in my blood. I’m not happy sitting in a classroom with a pencil and pen. I’d rather be out here doing what I love.”
Lostroh, who last year married his high school sweetheart, Candace, finished 15th in the PBR in 2005 and fifth last year while earning close to $500,000.
He entered this year’s World Finals in 17th place, with earnings of more than $138,000. Lostroh successfully rode 27 of 74 bulls (36.49 percent), with five top-five finishes and two 90-point rides this season. Then he went out and topped 90 points in each of his first two rides at the Finals.
“I hadn’t been getting the whistle as much as I wanted coming into the Finals, but I know I’ve been riding good,” he said. “There’s been ups and downs and some fights. I love the fights. That’s what makes the sport fun.”
The bulls won round two of the Finals as only 11 of the world’s top 49 bull riders stayed on for eight seconds.
“Those are the best bulls we have here,” said Cody Lambert, PBR’s livestock director.
Guilherme Marchi, one of only seven cowboys to ride two bulls at the Finals, recorded the top score of the night with a 90.75 on Firewater, edging Lostroh by 0.25 points. It was only the fourth 90-point score of the Finals, with Lostroh owning two of them.
Season points leader Justin McBride was shut out for the second straight round when he failed to ride Gnash, the same bull that dislocated McBride’s left shoulder in late August at the Chihuahua Challenge in Mexico.