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Dirteater Gets Past Freaky Friday the 13th Out

ST. LOUIS – Was it because as a kid Ryan Dirteater would go searching for four-leaf clovers with his mom, Melitha, around Oklahoma?

Maybe it was because his dad, Randy, was born on the 13th of September?

Or maybe it was just because the Cherokee Kid had his lucky buckeye in his gear bag like he always does that International Professional Rodeo two-time bull riding champion Mika Jon Calico gave him years ago?

Whatever it was, the oddity of being the 13th rider to nod his head on Friday the 13th at Scottrade Center with his vest number being 13 still wasn’t enough for any superstition lore to get in the way of Dirteater making the 8-second mark and winning Round 1 with 87 points aboard Little Joe.

“It is kind of weird,” Dirteater said when told of the coincidence. “I try not to think much about it, but on the way here my girlfriend said, ‘It is Friday the 13th.’”

Dirteater doesn’t consider himself too superstitious, but he certainly believes in having a similar routine every weekend.

He tries to get to the arena 2 to 2.5 hours before the start of the event, and he will talk with some of the guys in the locker room about his bull for the night. Dirteater then will hang his bull rope up and head to sports medicine to get stretched out.

“Always the same thing,” Dirteater said.

He also doesn’t mind having a little luck on his side.

“Me and mom would be out there looking for four-leaf clovers when I was a kid,” Dirteater said. “She would always beat me finding them, but I would find one and keep it. I would keep one on me and now I have a buckeye in my gear bag.”

“I guess you can say I like luck.”

Kasey Hayes, who was the 13th ranked bull rider in the world on Friday, was not so lucky when he attempted to ride Western Way in Round 1. Hayes appeared to be locked in for a solid score before being jarred loose at the 6.98-second mark.

“I thought I had him,” Hayes said. “I think maybe I overthought it too much.”

Dirteater even joked that maybe his success on Friday night had something to do with all of the “Friday the 13th” movies he and his sister, Kassey, used to watch together.

His dad competed in amateur bull ridings in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas for about four years in the early 1980s, and Randy Dirteater said he couldn’t think of any superstitions when he nodded his head.

His main goal was to just stay healthy, which is something he is proud to see Ryan succeeding with through six BFTS events.

“That is the main thing for these guys right now,” Randy said. “If they are not healthy, they are not going to get the bulls rode for sure. I have seen him struggle with it, that’s for sure.”

Ryan, who tore his left ACL in 2013, is coming off a career-high 25 BFTS events in 2014 and is currently on pace to potentially set a new career-high for qualified rides in a season. He is 10-for-22 this year and his previous career-best (29) came in 2012.

The 100 points he won for winning Round 1 gives him world standings points in five of the seven BFTS events this season. He will head into Round 2 on Saturday night with a matchup against Spin City.

He then will try to become the third rider in 31 BFTS attempts to conquer the over 2,000-pound Mississippi Hippy during the 15/15 Bucking Battle, which will be broadcast on CBS network television Sunday at noon.

Only time will tell if Dirteater can strike for another pot of 8-second gold in St. Louis.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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