By: Kristian Limas
December 20, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Injuries are inevitable in sports. Nowhere is that more true, though, than in the PBR. In a sport that pits man against beast, there’s no set of rules in place that can keep a bull from causing injury.
The PBR also stands out because the people who compete are not just athletes, they are cowboys through and through. That comes along with an expectation that the job will get done, no matter how hurt or tired a cowboy is.
There’s a phrase for that – cowboy up.
There have been thousands of bruises, cuts and broken bones over the course of PBR history, and, in some of those instances, riders bit the bullet to get the job done.
A few of those moments will be featured on CBS Sports Network’s “PBR Tough 10: Cowboy Up.” The episode will air Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET and will feature many of the PBR’s greats counting down some of the grittiest and gustiest moments in PBR history.
Tune in to see where exactly these moments rank and which one will ultimately be crowned number one.
Having to cowboy up is not something that can be taught. It’s an instinct that demands that a rider gives it their all.
“J.W. Hart said one time to me,” PBR Bullfighter Shorty Gorham says in the broadcast, “‘there are very few guys that are willing to die tonight to ride a bull.’”
That kind of determination in the face of danger has made the riders of the PBR living legends. One of those legends is 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi.
The 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals was a tough one for Marchi, who tore his right MCL a mere two months after tearing his left one.
For almost any other athlete, tears in those crucial ligaments would mean the end of their season, but Marchi had another World Championship on his mind.
Marchi opted to avoid surgery and make a run in 2016.
He went on to win in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the site of his original injury the year before, and went on to close out the season in spectacular fashion.
Marchi went 12-for-13 in the last three events of 2016, including a 5-for-6 performance at the World Finals. He ended the year sixth in the world standings and felt rejuvenated in his pursuit of another championship – all with an injury that would have stopped almost anybody else.
“You cowboy up,” three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes said. “If you have torn ligaments, you get on. See how tough you are.”
Very few people have questioned 1995 Rookie of the Year J.W. Hart’s toughness, but when Hart devised the Unfinished Business event in 2015, he was ready to prove it once again.
“You can imagine my surprise after we had all retired, and we had all survived this life, that he wanted to have Unfinished Business,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said. “The name to me was just crazy.”
It had been seven years since Hart’s last ride, but the PBR legend still wanted to put on a show for a specific reason.
“I did it for two reasons,” Hart said. “The first and foremost was my son. My son was 6 at the time and he had never seen me ride and I would show him videos on YouTube, but that just wouldn’t do it.”
Eight bull riders came out of retirement that night, among them were two-time World Champions McBride and Chris Shivers and 1997 World Champion Michael Gaffney.
But it was Hart that came out on top along with Shivers, despite being knocked out at the conclusion of his ride.
More importantly, Hart had kept his word and showed his son the true meaning of having to cowboy up.
Whether it’s a current rider competing through pain, or a legend coming through and showing he’s still got it, cowboying up was central to their ability to get the job done.
It’s something not everyone can do, but when a cowboy needs to get it done, it can lead to some amazing moments.
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