By: Justin Felisko
May 27, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Tyler Harr still remembers growing up in Slovak, Arkansas, and having plenty of friends and people snicker at the idea of him wanting to grow up and be a professional bull rider.
Everyone urged him to find a different dream to pursue.
Nowadays, Harr lets those memories of his critics roll right off his back and just chuckles. Even he is a little surprised at where bull riding has taken him in the last eight years, not to mention just this week alone.
In a span of 48 hours, the No. 34 ranked bull rider in the world standings has been in three different countries.
Harr is now in Zacatecas, Mexico, preparing to compete at the Zacatecas PBR Mexico Touring Pro Division event on Saturday after previously competing in Canada at the Cloverdale Rodeo in Surrey, British Columbia, last weekend and making a pit stop home to spend time with his daughter, Ava, for two days before boarding a flight Thursday to Mexico.
The 26-year-old is in Zacatecas not only to compete at his first PBR Mexico event, but also to serve as a groomsman for Luis Blanco’s wedding.
“One of my good friends, Luis Blanco, is getting married in Mexico and his fiancé (Meghan) is from there and her family lives there,” Harr said. “He wanted me to be a part of his wedding, so I was going there anyways and it just worked out where there was an event before his wedding.”
Blanco and Meghan are getting married June 3 in San Juan de los Lagos. The city is located in Jalisco, Mexico, which is about 3 hours south of Zacatecas.
Cody Nance is also competing in Zacatecas and attending Blanco’s wedding.
“You know, it’s a lot of good things and my good friends, Cody and Tyler, are taking the time to come to my wedding and, at the same time, I have a chance to ride with them over there. I’m so excited,” Blanco said.
Harr is spending 10 days in Mexico before flying to Calgary for the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event on June 8. His trip to Mexico makes it two consecutive years in which Harr has traveled to a new country for the first time.
Last August, Harr competed in Brazil when he rode at the famous Barretos event.
“The PBR has opened the door for us to see the world,” Harr said. “The opportunity is amazing. It is kind of surreal to me that I get to do some of the things I get to do because of the opportunities of the PBR.”
He became good friends with Joao Ricardo Vieira during the trip, and he received a personal tour from Vieira and attended a traditional Brazilian barbeque. He also met Filipe Masetti Leite, a Brazilian journalist from Toronto that made a two-year trek on horseback through 12 countries to Brazil.
Tyler Harr became good friends with Joao Ricardo Vieira last year in Brazil.
“As a kid growing up, there were a lot of times other people from coaches in school to teachers and other parents, everybody said their opinion, and bull riding wasn’t real popular,” Harr said. “It was something people would kind of try and sway me against. They said it would never take me anywhere and it was a pipedream.”
Harr later added, “There was no changing my mind of what I wanted to be when I got older. My dad was a really big influence in what I have done. He always pushed me to be my best and supported me and what not. He showed me some tough love at times and that sort of thing too. My entire family has supported me once they realized bull riding had chose me and there was no turning back. No one was going to sway me from my goals.”
Harr says he doesn’t have any exact plans just yet for his trip to Mexico other than the bull riding in the North-Central Mexican state and Blanco’s wedding in San Juan de los Lagos, but he is sure Blanco will have plenty of ideas.
The two bull riders first met in 2013 and quickly became close friends as they fought to qualify for the Built Ford Tough Series. Blanco, an Iacanga, Brazil native, has competed in multiple PBR Mexico events since 2010 and can speak fluent Spanish.
“One of the good things about it is I am going to have a really good traveling tour guide,” Harr said. “That is what I am excited about with this next trip with Luis. I have somebody that can actually show me things and explain things to me. I am not just wandering around lost. It is going to be neat.”
Before he can relax in Mexico and celebrate his buddy’s wedding, Harr knows he needs to make 8 seconds inside the arena. The 2016 summer is going to be a grind for Harr as he tries to keep a grasp on his spot inside the Top 35 of the world standings.
Harr only leads No. 35 Nathan Schaper by 32.5 points and riders ranked 30-50 are only separated by 210 points.
“I didn’t do as well as I hoped at Last Cowboy Standing so I can’t take a break this summer,” Harr said.
Blanco is 39th in the world standings and is 40 points behind Schaper. Blanco has placed in the Top-8 in all six PBR Mexico events he has competed in.
Both riders have come a far way since their childhoods, and Harr is now off to faraway places thanks to his commitment to bull riding.
“It is nice to sit back now and know I wasn’t crazy as a kid,” Harr said. “It is something that is a dream come true. I enjoy living it now.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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