By: Justin Felisko
June 30, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Fourth of July fireworks mean one thing for Shane Proctor: time to hop in the van and hit the road for Cowboy Christmas.
The 2011 PRCA bull riding champion returned to competition last week in Reno, Nevada, following surgery to remove 16 screws and two plates from his left (free arm) that were causing an infection after PBR’s Last Cowboy Standing in May.
The timing couldn’t be better for Proctor as he is able to return just in time for the busiest week of the rodeo season with multiple rodeos all across the United States.
Proctor, who is currently 10th in the PRCA’s bull riding standings, concluded the Built Ford Tough Series first half seventh in the world standings and is trying to become the first rider in history to win both bull riding titles in the same season.
The Grand Coulee, Washington, bull rider trails PBR world No. 1 Kaique Pacheco by 611.17 points in the world standings.
The goal to qualify for both the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals and 2016 Wrangler National Finals was why Proctor planned his surgery for the week after Last Cowboy Standing despite dealing with the infection for the majority of the season. The 31-year-old didn’t want to miss any time on the grind because of the injury, but he knew he could afford to miss the beginning of the summer rodeo schedule if he could recover by the Fourth of July.
“Oh, shoot, that is what we planned when we knew those plates were going to have come out,” Proctor said Thursday while driving with Markus Mariluch to Cody, Wyoming. “I made a plan where I could minimize the effects of everything. I waited until Last Cowboy Standing was over with the intention of coming back for the Fourth of July. Luckily, my arm feels good.”
According to Proctor, he has been on seven bulls so far during his return from surgery. He believes his arm is good as new and has no hesitations about being signed up for 10 rodeos over the course of the next week.
“Well, it feels good,” Proctor said. “I got to take X-rays last week at one of the rodeos and it looks like a bunch of worm holes in there. The main part is the holes filling back in. I just have to worry about getting hit real bad where the holes are filling back in and its leaking.”
Proctor didn’t do much rehab following the surgery. Instead, he enjoyed a month off at home and caught up on some various projects, such as building a new outdoor kitchen for his grill.
“No actually I didn’t,” he said. “I should have stretched more and worked out more. I stayed busy around the house building stuff and staying active. I always stretched and was working towards it. I felt like I should have done more.”
Proctor, who is attempting to ride at three different rodeos on the Fourth of July, will also compete at the July 20 Salinas, California, BlueDEF Tour event as part of his big summer run.
He picked up an 86.5-point ride last night in Greeley, Colorado, and also notched 88 points last Saturday in Lehi, Utah.
“It feels good,” Proctor said. “I think with the infection in there I was tired all the time. Now I am just tired from driving.”
Proctor is exhausted from driving with good reason.
He began his journey last Monday when he drove from his home in Mooresville, North Carolina, to Springdale, Arkansas. He then flew to Reno and back to Arkansas for another rodeo before driving to Greeley. From there, Proctor then headed over to Lehi before back north to Oregon.
One day of rest then resulted in a trip south to Prescott, Arizona, before returning to Greeley last night.
In other words, Proctor’s customized minivan was put to the test.
“We are freaking doing it,” Proctor said.
Proctor added he isn’t concerned one bit about the strong summer run being an issue for his now steel- free arm.
“If I am going to do it, I might as well go full board,” he said. “It is not. It is what it is. It is going to work or it is not.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Fourth of July PBR Touring Pro Division Events:
June 30: St. Paul, Oregon (7:30 p.m.)
July 1-2: Rock Springs, Texas (7 p.m.)
July 2-3: Park Rapids, Minnesota (6:30 p.m.)
July 4: Lancaster, California (7 p.m.)
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