Eight seconds of disappointment
Injuries keep Collbran's Wallace from riding in Vegas
Ty Wallace is enjoying a little free time at his Collbran ranch.
But this time of year, the 22-year-old doesn’t want to be at home.
As one of the best bull riders in the country, Wallace wants to be in Las Vegas at the National Finals Rodeo.
But there’s one reality that torments bull riders: Injuries.
Wallace was having a great season and it looked like he’d be a lock for a third straight trip to Vegas and the NFR.
“I had a good year going, I’d done about 40 rodeos and my riding percentage was a lot better than last year,” Wallace said. “I wasn’t that far out of it and I was ready to go back to the finals.”
Then he tore a groin muscle and the season was toast.
“It happened, I got hurt but that’s part of it. I really wanted to be part (of the NFR) again this year,” he said.
There are not many sports where the school of hard knocks provides as many lessons as it does in bull riding.
Last year, Wallace battled a painful knee injury but qualified for the NFR as one of the top 15 money winners. Then came a carer highlight when he climbed aboard a bull named Hard Knox.
Wallace taught that bull a lesson and earned a winning score of 88. He was one of only seven bull riders in the 10 rounds to take home a gold belt buckle that comes from winning a round at the NFR.
Wallace also had second-, third- and six-place rides. The year before he had two successful rides good for second and third.
Because of that groin injury back in mid-August, Wallace will be home tending to his 50 head of cattle.
But he’s actually thankful for a little down time.
“The time off has been good for me,” he said.
The life of a bull rider, or anyone on the professional rodeo circuit is a grueling one with competitors needing to ride 100-plus rodeos a year to build up their prize money to make the NFR.
That’s a lot of travel, a lot of time away from home.
“I’ve been hard at it for three years. It’s been nice to just be home and run my cows,” Wallace said. “It’s nice to not even think about it for a while.”
The injury, which Wallace said sound like a gun going off in his leg when it popped, is already close to healed.
After the “pop” he tried another couple of rodeos, then knew it was time to hang up his rope and chaps for the year.
“Everyday stuff doesn’t bother it at all, so I’ll be OK for next year,” he said.
Wallace chuckles when he talks about his cattle business and a look ahead to the future.
“I’m trying to build myself up (in the cattle business) so I don’t have to ride bulls forever,” he said.
Wallace loves being on the ranch and just “cowboying.” He also loves bouncing around to small local rodeos to compete in roping events.
“I love it. It’s a lot more relaxing than bull riding,” he said with a big chuckle.
For now, he’ll let his leg heal up, work the ranch, do a little roping and then it will be back to work, back on the road and back on the back’s of ornery bulls.
“It is what it is” he said about the injury. “I’ll keep looking forward and get back at it for next year.”
As for this year, he’ll be rooting for his traveling buddy and fellow Mesa County bull rider Tyler Smith, who will compete at the NFR.
“I hope he kicks everybody’s butt out there,” Wallace said.