Veteran bull rider, rookie keep truckin' along

Rodeo: Tyler Thomson has been a mentor to up-and-coming rodeo stars

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 09:38 am

Brock Radford tries to ride his bull in the final at the Strathmore Stampede on Aug..4. He was bucked off, but his mentor, Black Diamond’s Tyler Thomson in purple shirt to the right, won the event when he covered I’m A Gansta.
Brock Radford tries to ride his bull in the final at the Strathmore Stampede on Aug..4. He was bucked off, but his mentor, Black Diamond’s Tyler Thomson in purple shirt to the right, won the event when he covered I’m A Gansta.
Mike Copeman Photography

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A young bull rider is learning a lot while sitting in a truck travelling the long miles between rodeos.

“I travel with Tyler (Thomson), Jordan Hansen, and Ty Elliott,” said 19-year-old Brock Radford from Cayley.

“Travelling with those guys with their experience, they help me with the way to think — keeping my head straight and thinking positive. I have lots of fun with the guys. On the B.C. rodeos we stop at this one place and go go-karting, it’s a blast.”

His rookie year has been a blast.

Radford is sitting 12th in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association — the final hole for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton this November. If the standings remain the same, all four of them will be travelling together to Edmonton for the CFR.

Radford finished second at the Strathmore Stampede Aug. 1-4, finishing just behind travelling partner Thomson.

“I won the long-round (Aug. 1) in Strathmore on Team Paige who is notorious for getting a high score on him. I rode him for 88 ,” Radford said from Dawson Creek on Friday. “In the short go, I drew a little bit tougher bull and it ended up bucking me off. Tyler (Thomson) went out and rode his and ended up edging me out.”

Thomson is a former Canadian champion and a full-time mentor to Radford and other young bull riders.

“Tyler has helped me out a lot — he’s the main guy to help me get where I am today,” Radford said.

This is Radford’s first year on the CPRA, after making it to the Foothills Cowboy Association finals last year.

“I was going to do it sooner or later, I was riding good and I had already won an LRA (Lakeland Rodeo Association) and FCA championship, so I figured why not,” Radford said about turning pro. “It’s been going really good, I won the Jack Daines for my first pro rodeo win and I have been placing here and there since… It’s way ranker bulls in the pro, you have to work a lot harder to win.”

If the Strathmore rodeo is any indication, other bull riders will be offering to buy a seat on the magic truck.

All four of the travelling foursome covered in the long go-round at Strathmore. However, it was the veteran Thomson who showed the young bucks a thing or two. He was the only bull rider to cover in the final short-go and wound up winning the championship and approximately $9.000.

“I had a bull from the Calgary Stampede (I’m a Gangsta) who had only been rode once before,” Thomson said. “Brock probably had the best bull in the short go and if he would have rode him, there is no way I could have beat him.”

The 33-year-old Thomson figures he better beat Radford now — Father Time is catching up with the Black Diamond bull rider.

“I better get my shots in now while I can,” Thomson said with a chuckle. “Brock is a talented young guy and he is going to do very well. I am kind of the old guy on the way out. I have to do it now before I can’t beat him anymore.”

Thomson has no one to blame but himself for Radford’s success. He has helped Radford, a 2013 Foothills Composite graduate, since his junior steer riding days.

“He’s a good young kid, who is nice to be around and he really likes to ride bulls,” Thomson said. “Those good kids don’t come around every day, so when they do you want to mentor them.

“I am still riding bulls and he is too and we live close together, it just made sense that we would be in the truck together.”

Thomson also helped Hansen, another Comp grad who made his first CFR last year, early in his career. However, the old guy isn’t done yet. He is having his best season in the CPRA in a few years. He sits second in the CPRA standings with $29,320, as of Aug. 8, just $351 behind first-place Dakota Buttar from Kindersley.

“I’m really happy with the year,” Thomson said. “I have tried to slow down a bit. I am going to less rodeos and trying to stay healthy.”

Thomson is a former 2008 Canadian champion. He said if he was fortunate enough to win another title this November, he would consider retiring. The Magic Truck will be making a stop in Okotoks, the home rodeo for the Fab Four. The Okotoks Pro Rodeo is Aug. 29-31. For ticket information go to www.okotoksprorodeo.com

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