Dustin Bowen – Waller, Texas ($94,668)
2-time WNFR qualifier
There is no doubt that bull rider Dustin Bowen has a lot of heart, but before he was born, the doctors were wondering.
His mother, Brenda, went in for a routine ultrasound and they could hear Dustin’s heartbeat, but couldn’t see his heart. After more testing they discovered that his heart was a mirror image of itself and on the opposite side of his chest, a rare condition called dextrocardia. Dustin now has a tattoo on his wrist as medical alert bracelets weren’t sturdy enough for a bull rider.
That heart beats just fine for the native of Pennsylvania who is making his second trip to Las Vegas to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He started the year out with a big win at the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver. Then he collected nearly $20,000 over the Fourth of July and took home titles from the World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Arizona and the Cody (Wyoming) Stampede. He starts the NFR in eleventh place in the world standings with earnings of $94,668.
At the age of 10, Dustin was introduced to bull riding and he knew it was what he wanted to do. Luckily there was an arena close to his home in rural Pennsylvania and he took every opportunity to practice. When he found out Ty Murray studied gymnastics for flexibility and strength, Dustin took up gymnastics training too.
His first NFR didn’t go like he wanted. Then shoulder and bicep injuries in 2016 kept him out of the top 15. Not only has he worked hard to get to this year’s NFR, he has been working hard to prepare for it. He spent the week before traveling to Vegas in Belton, Texas, getting on practice bulls.
For most rodeo contestants, the traveling is just to get from one competition to the next. For Dustin, it is an opportunity to pursue his second passion rock climbing. He has a list of places he’s been to and wants to go back and a rock climbing bucket list.
Whether it’s climbing rocks or climbing on the back of bulls, Dustin puts his whole heart into it, even if it’s beating on the wrong side of his chest. His fans have a lot to look forward to during the NFR.