Working for free

Clay Collins 

Well, it's been a few weeks since I have written you guys, and I have been busy as usual with rodeos and traveling the country. I started in Philadelphia, Miss., which is the home of Bull rider Chance Smart. Chance has been a great friend, and I went to see him and be some support while he went through his second eye surgery. Chance is getting a lot better and is ready to get back on the road and get back to riding bulls.

While I was there, I also worked a rodeo in Lauderdale, Miss., home of the famous Ralph Morgan Ranch. There was a day when I hated going there, back during the Wrangler Freestyle Bullfights, because you had all them great freestyle bulls there and James Harper made you do that bullfight for free. You got paid well to work the rodeo, but as far as winning any money, you were out of luck. Back in my younger and less experienced days I felt that way and did those kind of things.

World Champion Bull Rider J.W. Harris showed up — because I begged him to come out there so I would have some company — and did ride well. He rode a bull called Bulletproof that came from Tony Sharpe and I think should have gone to the NFR a few times but never has. J.W. was marked 85 points and ended up winning second to Friday Wright, who rode the same bull for 86 points.

From there, I moved on to Lufkin, Texas, and did a great rodeo that is a lot of fun and attracts a lot of the great bull riders. I got there on Wednesday and was excited because of the caliber of bulls and bull riders that were there. Harlan Robertson of Silverado Rodeo Co. was there and he brought 20 of the bucking-est bulls you will see on the planet right now. His bulls were there the first two nights and threw off a bunch of great bull riders (Douglas Duncan, B.J. Schumacher and Cody Hancock, just to name a few).

The last two performances were by Stace Smith Rodeo's bulls and they had a great showing in Lufkin. Smith has started bucking some of his younger bulls and they showed out in Lufkin. J.W. Harris bucked off a bull at 7.6-seconds to win the rodeo on a new bull of Smith's that would have had him in the 90's. Then there was J.B. Mauney, and did he ever make a great bull ride! He had a bull that had never been ridden, and after watching him buck you began to see why he hasn't. That bull tried everything under the sun to throw J.B. off, and he rode as well as anyone could ride a bull. He was 91 points and worked his tail off for all 91 of them.

It was a great rodeo and the fans there were awesome. I feel blessed to have been able to work that great rodeo and be with such great bulls and bull riders. I have to thank Bill Zeigler and Dr. Kevin Ellis for taking care of me while I was there. I don't really know the doctor terms but I did slip a disk or something like that while I was there and they fixed me up and kept me going. I will let you know, that is some of the worst pain I've had in a while. And it's really hard to fight bulls with a slipped disk. I will be heading north here shortly for some great rodeos and will keep you updated.

-Clay Collins

To read Clay's previous blog, 'Houston Texans' click here.