Youth Focus: Carbon County Bull Fever, the life of Bo Edwards
|Bo Edwards ties one on during the Nationals High School Finals. |
When 15 year-old Carbon County native Bo Edwards started riding bulls five years ago he knew he had found his calling. From the beginning, Edwards has been fascinated with all facets of the life or death sport including its long and graphic history.
"When you talk to Bo, be prepared to talk for hours about nothing but bull riding, bulls and their history," explained Tonya Edwards, Bo's mother. "When you mention bull riding Bo always asks, when and where."
When Edwards first started riding bulls his father decided that he needed his own bulls to practice on and now he not only has the bulls to practice with but has worked hard and started his own Born to Buck Breeding Program. Edwards' newest addition was born only a few days ago, he is a little plummer bull calf named Waterboy.
According to his family if Edwards is not riding, because of injury or much needed rest, he is usually to be found behind the shoots helping his father flank bulls.
The Edwards family owns a stock contracting business, Classic Productions.
"If I had it my way I would do all the flanking and my dad could judge the event, I'm a much better flanker than he is anyway," laughs Edwards.
Edwards began riding at the age of four with mutton busting, but after quickly deciding he didn't care much for that Edwards tried bull riding within the National Little Britches Rodeo Association. He picked up the craft quickly and qualified each year to compete at the association's finals rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colo. Last year Edwards broke through the pack and became the Reserve World Champion Jr. Bull Rider.
As a freshman Edwards began high school rodeo and over the last couple of years has made an immediate impact for Carbon High. Bo placed sixth in the state tournament and competed at the Silver State Internationals in Fallon, Nev. and at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Springfield, Ill.
At the national competition both the Utah boys and girls team helped the beehive state team to become national champions in Bo's first year of competition.
Edwards still competes in the Little Britches circuit and is currently ranked #1 going into the finals as a senior rider. He won the high school reserve championship by taking first in the second go on a bull named Nubby.
"This PBR/PRCA bull was never ridden in any high school rodeo until Bo held on for a score of 83 which is a tally you don't see very often in high school," explained Tonya.
Bo received his first professional training at the age of 12 when his grandparents ponied up the funds for him to attend the Sankey Rodeo School with pro rider Lyle Sankey.
According to his family, this was not only a learning experience for Edwards, but a big confidence booster.
"Sankey told us that he had never seen a 12 year old with as much talent as Bo and that if we keep him safe he could be the next Million Dollar Cowboy like Chris Shivers," commented Tonya.
|Edwards stands with his stock here in Carbon County. Bo has been breeding his own bulls under the Born to Buck Breeding Program.|
Bo also felt that the camp really helped his skills as a rider.
"Bull riding is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. So when I got some confidence at the camp my bull riding really took off," explained Edwards.
For Edwards riding is not just a seasonal hobby. He trains everyday with a strict regiment that consists of lifting weights, riding a stationary barrel, watching countless hours of video (both of himself and other riders) and listening to psychocybernetics tapes. He also rides several times a month on the real thing just to stay sharp when there is a lull in the competitions.
While training is crucial to Edward's development staying healthy is something that is a full time chore.
"When you ride bulls the saying goes, it's not if you get hurt, it's when and how bad," says Edwards. And the young man has more than a few battle scars to prove that point.
Edwards has continued to ride hard after having a hyper-extended elbow and buckle fracture in his wrist. His worst injury took place when Edwards was stomped on by a bull during practice.
"He was out practicing and got his let stomped on like a thousand times before, except this time the swelling just wouldn't go down," explained Tonya.
Bo developed compartment syndrome, a painful condition caused by increased pressure within a muscle compartment.
The blood supply to tissues is compromised and because of that tissue begins to die.
Doctors where forced to perform a a fasciotomy on Bo, a procedure that would open both sides of the young mans leg to relieve the swelling.
Four surgeries and two very long scars later, Edwards is walking and competing better than ever.
"While he was in the hospital, Bo kept asking Dr. Boyle when he would be able to ride again and the Dr. just kept telling him that he would have to wait until he was ready to release him." stated Bo's mom. "Dr. Boyle knows about Bo's dreams and desires and knows how impatient Bo is."
After suffering a concussion in the month of June Edwards was placed on recovery mode until finals and nationals.
As for the future, Bo's goals are to qualify for the Nationals High School Rodeo Finals for the next two years.
He also wishes to continue as Senior Bull Riding Champion in the NLBRA. After graduation he plans to attend college for training as a veterinarian and tour the professional PBR circuit.
"My dream is to live in Texas on a ranch raising bucking bulls," concluded Edwards.
This young mans life has been one serious ride and the Carbon County community will continue to enjoy watching him hold on, eight seconds at a time.