PUEBLO, Colo. – Matt Bohon still looks at some of the rankest bulls in the PBR and deep down believes he has what it takes to make the 8-second mark.
However after a 12-year PBR career, including seven seasons in which he competed in 10 or more Built Ford Tough Series events, Bohon’s body simply won’t perform up to his standards anymore.
Therefore, Bohon officially announced his retirement from professional bull riding on Monday.
“My body just quit responding to anything I was doing,” Bohon said after first making his retirement official on his Facebook page. “I had been struggling with a failing body for a few years and was putting in a lot of work to try to reverse a lot of the damage that had been done over a 12-year career with the PBR. Physically my body wasn’t allowing me to be in the right position at the right time to ride that type of bull. I lost my desire to keep prepared because of how my body felt. If I wasn’t going to put in the work to go out and be 100 percent there was no need for me to put my hand in my rope.”
The 31-year-old last competed on the BFTS in 2012, but he continued his career on the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division. Bohon concludes his career 164-for-477 (34.38 percent) in 180 BFTS events.
Bohon qualified for the PBR World Finals five times and posted 12 90-point rides and two event wins.
The Cole Camp, Missouri, native’s best season came in 2007 when he finished a career-best seventh in the world standings and posted career highs in rides (39), riding percentage (43.33 percent), Top-5s (6) and Top-10s (10).
“2007 is a year I will look back on and base my career off of,” Bohon said. “2007 was my real breakout year. In 2007, I realized I was a dang good bull rider and now I knew what it is like to be in the Top 10.”
One of his most memorable moments of his career also came in 2007 when he won a BFTS event in his home state by going 4-for-4 in St. Louis. Bohon capped his victory performance with an 89.75-point ride on Texas.
“Riding Texas to win in St. Louis was special,” Bohon said. “To win in my home state was a huge highlight of that year.”
Bohon, who began to be hindered by injuries in 2008, made his BFTS debut at the 2004 event in Billings, Montana, and picked up his first career victory in Minneapolis in 2006 by going 3-for-3. He sealed the win with a 91.25-point ride on Big Deal, the 2004 ABBI Classic Champion.
The decision to walk away from the sport that he fell in love with at 13 years old was obviously one that caused Bohon much restlessness.
He last got on a bull – Willy – at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in September 2014 in Minneapolis.
After bucking off in 4.5 seconds, Bohon was left frustrated over a bull he knew he should have been able to ride.
He spent the majority of the offseason taking a step away from the sport and once the New Year rolled around he realized the desire was just no longer there to return.
“Whenever I made that realization where I didn’t want to prepare, I have been sitting on the fence,” Bohon said. “Do I give it more time or do I go ahead and quit? It took me until April to finally admit it to myself that I don’t want to do it anymore. I know my body is not up to the caliber.”
Bohon has now shifted his attention toward his next goal, which is finishing up his classes in the Professional Welding Training Program at Tulsa Welding School.
“I want to see where that goes,” he said. “I’ve always been a decent welder, but with no professional experience. So I figured I would go down there and improve on my skills. I am ending one career that has taken up over half of my life and am trying to figure out another one I can do for the next 20-30 years. I am kicking things around for what is a good fit for my personality and my desires and I will just go from there.”
Bohon later concluded, “I have had a good career, and of course there is more that I wanted to accomplish and more that I should have accomplished, but at the end of the day, I had a good career and this is the time for a new chapter.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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