If you were to compare a silhouette shadow of two-time World Champion Chris Shivers and that of Chase Outlaw, they would be awfully similar.
They’re both right at 5-foot-6 and to watch them ride bulls, they both love to dress up their rides by letting loose with their outside foot and spurring a 1,900-pound bull for 90 or more points.
Shivers, who retired from the PBR following the 2012 season, tallied nearly 100 of those 90 pointers in what was arguably one of the greatest professional careers of all time. Outlaw has had far fewer, but he’s also missed significant time because of shoulder injuries in two of his first four seasons.
However, there are those who feel once he’s healthy, Outlaw’s little bulldog-like attitude and the latest PBR points system, which rewards winning, could be a combination for some 90-point efforts at a prolific rate.
“They’ve said that before,” Outlaw said. “To be mentioned similar to him, that’s a pretty good accomplishment.”
If he intends to live up to those lofty expectations, the 23-year-old Arkansas native will need to get himself healthy.
Four weeks ago, he had surgery to repair a torn left rotator cuff and labrum tear.
He’s not expected to return to competition until early April, which will give him two months’ worth of Built Ford Tough Series events followed by two months’ of BlueDEF events this summer before resuming the BFTS for the stretch run in August, September and October.
That schedule still gives him two PBR Majors – Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas and another one in Nashville, Tennessee – and a chance to hit his stride heading into the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“I believe I will,” said Outlaw, who’s confident he’ll qualify for the Finals for a fifth consecutive season. “I believe everything is going to work out good.”
He’s actually about a week ahead of where he was at following the same surgery on his right shoulder.
Dr. Tandy Freeman performed the same exact procedure earlier this season. The first time Outlaw needed 10 anchors to hold his surgically repaired right shoulder together, while his left shoulder only required four anchors.
Outlaw said it hasn’t felt nearly as sore and, in fact, he had full range of motion a week sooner.
He had surgery on a Tuesday and four days later, on Saturday morning, he was in a blind for the opening of duck hunting season. He was using a youth model 20 gauge – not because of his Shivers-like stature – but because he shoots right-handed and was protecting his shoulders.
He didn’t get anything on opening day.
However, two days later, on that Monday morning, he got a bandit mallard.
“Which is a rare find these days,” said Outlaw, who’s been hunting with Reese Cates, Kolt Donaldson and Tyler Harr as much as possible this offseason.
Despite having surgery and being in the midst of physical therapy, Outlaw said, “I’ve been waiting on duck season since (last) January.”
He added, “Duck hunting will get you in shape too—running through that water trying to beat people to a duck hole. Wading in that water.”
He said he’s hunting in anywhere from one to two feet of water.
As for his shoulder, Outlaw added, “I haven’t let it get stiff.”
Having gone through it this past summer – “I really hated that I had to miss that summer run last year” – he knows what it will take to get himself ready for an April return to competition.
In the meantime, he and his girlfriend of two years are expecting a little girl any week.
Outlaw, who said he and Nicole Evans are engaged and will be married sometime in 2016, are planning to name their daughter Chloe Lane Outlaw. He has an older daughter, Cashleigh, from a previous relationship.
“I’m really excited,” said Outlaw.
This past season, Outlaw won the 15/15 Bucking Battle in St. Louis, Missouri, prior to missing time following his first of two shoulder surgeries. He returned in time to qualify for his fourth consecutive World Finals.
In four previous season he’s amassed 28 Top-10 finishes and 11 Top-5s to go with a pair of wins. His first victory came in Houston (2012) in just his third BFTS event, and his second was two years later in Nashville.
The five-time Arkansas State Champion has also earned a pair of career international PBR events wins (Brisbane and Sydney, Australia).
Once he returns in April, Outlaw said he intends to do all he can with whatever events he’s provided with.
He also knows, like his new Monster Energy teammate and reigning World Champion J.B. Mauney, he’ll have to make winning rounds work in his favor.
Mauney won the 2015 title despite attempting the least amount of bulls than anyone else ranked in the Top 15 of the world standings.
The two-time World Champion is also known for his “90-or-nothing” attitude.
Like Mauney and Shivers, Outlaw quoted his friend and fellow rider Douglas Duncan, “I’ll be going hard like cold pizza.”
He then added, “I’ll be starting from ground zero, but that ain’t nothing. I’m going to get these two seasons with the injuries out of the way and once I come back I’m going to be coming on with it now.”
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