DENVER ― His repaired knees and their respective braces may make him look half bull rider and half transformer, but Travis Briscoe is excited to be back riding after missing seven months due to surgery on his knees.
Showing off his braces to fellow riders participating at the Denver Rodeo All-Star at the National Western Complex, Briscoe felt right at home in his third bull riding event since the surgery.
“I am just happy to be back,” he said. “It’s been a long recovery. Praise God that I am healthy and I’m ready to go again.”
Briscoe had to finally undergo surgery on both his ACLs and MCLs in August after years of wear and tear, said the nine-year veteran.
Yet, the 27-year-old said the time off was possibly more valuable to him than just the physical aspect. Seven months of rehab and recovery let him refocus and re-energize his love for a sport that not only has its physical demands, but mental demands, as well.
“It was good to get away for seven months and have nothing to do with it,” Briscoe said. “But I came back fresh. I have that same hunger that I had when I was 18 when I first came on tour. It was needed more than I actually realized. I am glad I did it.”
Briscoe made his BFTS debut in 2005 before competing full time in 2006. He has only competed in four BFTS events since 2012 and is hoping a healthy lower body can help him return to the PBR’s top tour. Briscoe finished 12th in the world standings in 2010, and had a career-best riding percentage of 45.21 percent. He also posted four 90-point rides that year.
While he completed his rehab over the past couple of months, the Edgewood, N.M., native spent some time selling cars as way to bring in a couple extra bucks for his family. That also helped put things in perspective for him.
“It was nice to know I was capable of doing something outside of bulls,” he said. “It was something I had never done before. It was good – a very humbling experience. But it made me realize why I love doing this for a living.”
Things didn’t go as well as he would have liked Saturday, as he was bucked off by Kody Lostroh’s Amy’s Pet in 4.5 seconds. However, Briscoe understands that he needs some time at the Touring Pro Division level to work back up to speed after being cleared to start riding bulls again by Dr. Tandy Freeman in Albuquerque, N.M., in March.
It’s why even though he is a fierce competitor – “I know I like winning and I hate losing” – he is not concerned with his 0-for-3 performance in Billings, Mont., last week after qualifying for the Built Ford Tough Series event by winning the BlueDEF Velocity Tour bull riding in Salt Lake City on April 5.
“I didn’t know what to expect, so I just kind of sat back in the locker room and took it all back in,” Briscoe said.
Most of all, he is back to doing what he loves.
“It almost brought a tear to my eye being home again, being back at it,” Briscoe said. “It feels like I am getting a second chance at things.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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