Professional Bull Rider August 24, 2016

Professional Bull Rider

Shadow: Joseph McConnel
Job: Professional Bull Rider

Joseph McConnel doesn’t just take the bull by the horns… he rides it. I was able observe what the life of a professional Bull Rider looks like at the World Championship Bull Riding Competition in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The best bull riders gather at Cheyenne Frontier Days to see who can hold the most prestigious title in bull riding. The World Champion title earns riders bragging rights as well as a bonus of $1 million.

Bull riding runs deep in Joseph McConnel’s blood. His dad was a professional bull rider, his older brother is a professional bull rider and now Joseph is a professional bull rider. At age five, Joseph began riding sheep to prepare him to continue his family legacy. He progressed to riding calves when he got a little older and completed his training with full-sized bulls. At fourteen, Joseph began traveling to bull riding competitions with his older brother, Ryan McConnel. Joseph became comfortable standing on the back of the bucking chutes, where bulls are loaded before storming out into the arena. He watched his brother hold a spot among the top 10 bull riders in the world for three years in a row.

“There is nothing better than the present moment. Living in the now and living on the edge.” ~ Joseph McConnel

Joseph turned pro at the youngest age that was allowed. He made his debut his first year at Nationals where he held off three former World Champions to win the event. By watching the best, he became the best. He constantly thinks, dreams, and lives bull riding. He lets his brain, muscles, nerves, and every part of his body be full of the adrenaline rush that comes from riding bulls. While waiting atop a bull in the bucking chutes he chooses to live in the now; not obsess about the past or the future or fret about what could happen. Focusing on the present moment allows him to be in the right state of mind to enjoy the ride.

Joseph is one of the toughest at his game. He taught me about the importance of persistence and dedication. I am inspired by his passion and willingness to relentlessly pursue after his dreams. I learned that sometimes you just have to ride your bulls and see where you fall. In those times when you do get bucked off, rub off the dirt and face your fears. More than anything enjoy the ride!

Learned Lessons:

  1. Dedicate your life to doing what you love.
  2. Have mentors and inspiration as you journey through life.
  3. Seek fulfillment in the present moment.
  4. Living on the edge brings forth an infectious vitality.
  5. Passion emerges from the place you feel most alive.

Tips of the Trade:

“I go through life with a 'pace' attitude. Take it bull by bull and go on to the next one.” ~ Joseph McConnel

“I love this sport to death, it will never leave my blood.” ~ Joseph McConnel

“Never look back; keep moving forward. When you look back you are just setting yourself up to lose.” ~ Joseph McConnel

“Just ride your bulls and see where you fall.” ~ Joseph McConnel