Shrugging Off Injuries

PUEBLO, Colo. – The new year can’t come quickly enough for Shane Proctor.

The veteran bull rider is hungrier than ever heading into the 2015 season after a nightmare year that included surgeries on both shoulders. The 2011 PRCA champion is healed and ready for the blank slate that awaits him, and he plans on making it a big season.

“Everything feels like it’s ready to go,” said Proctor, who earned $221,021 in the PBR in 2013. “It’s been a long offseason, and it’s time to get back riding bulls. They (shoulders) feel good, and I’m excited to be getting on bulls.”

Proctor, who lives in Mooresville, N.C., underwent surgery on Jan. 14 to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left, free arm after putting up with the pain for months during his 2013 campaign. After rehabbing that shoulder, Proctor was bitten by the injury bug again on July 1 in Ponoka, Alberta, and was forced to undergo surgery 12 days later to repair damage to ligaments, cartilage, his biceps tendon and rotator cuff in his right, riding shoulder.

That was it for the 29-year-old’s 2014 season.

“It’s all been a learning experience for me, and every day is a learning experience,” said Proctor, who finished ninth in the 2013 world standings.

He admits he feels a bit snake-bitten after a long and injury-filled season, but knows getting hurt is an unfortunate assurance in his chosen profession.

“It’s just part of bull riding,” said Proctor, who earned a career-best $250,493 in 2011. “I’ve been riding a long time, and injuries start building up after a while. I guess it just finally all came down at one time, but it is what it is.

“We don’t play checkers, we ride bulls. So, it’s part of the sport.”

Riding a few practice bulls in the final months of 2014 has helped Proctor get his timing back.

“I got on some bulls a few weeks ago, and the first one was just about getting the confidence in the shoulder that it would stay in (place),” he said. “I was getting my timing back on the second one, and the third one, I ended up staying on and made an OK ride. For me, the more bulls I get on, the better I get and the more confidence I get.”

Proctor said he has not decided how much he will split his time between the PBR and PRCA in the upcoming year.

“I’ll definitely go to some rodeos, but right now, I just want (to focus on) getting on bulls,” Proctor said. “For me, now is just about getting on as many bulls as I can to get back to where I was riding. After Christmas, I’m going to get on a lot of bulls and just focus on the new season.”

It’s been tough for Proctor watching his peers succeed on television.

“You watch the best bull riders in the world week-in and week-out, and you’ve competed with them, and it makes you want it even more,” Proctor said. “You know what it’s like to be up there under the lights, and that’s what you crave.”

The time away has renewed Proctor’s hunger for competition and has him ready for the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series season opener in Baltimore Jan. 2-3.

“It happened for a reason and has given me a year to totally recuperate and crave it again,” he said of the injuries. “I’ve just been figuring out how to push myself so I can be back and ready for the 2015 season and be in the best shape possible. I’m looking forward to 2015, because I’ve spent the whole year thinking about it.

“Now, it’s time to act on it.”

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