Colville tribal bull rider lives for the thrill of those eight seconds
In those few seconds just before the chute opens there’s one of life’s most unbelievable feelings, says professional bull rider Shawn Best II.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he says. “It feels like the difference between living and dying tied up in a moment. And you are just about to decide your future.”
Best has been riding that feeling for a number of years now. He started bull riding when he was young.
“I grew up in the rodeo world and could have done anything in rodeo, but bull riding has just been my passion since I was a baby,” he says.
Growing up Best had a unique nickname among his family.
“My family nickname is ‘Bull’ because I used to pretend to be a bucking bull when I was like 3 or 4,” says Best.
The first time Best got on a bull, he had just completed the sixth grade.
“The very first time I got on a bull was at the Sam’s Ranch with my dad, Gary Sam and Jerry Sam there,” he said. “I was in the 7th grade or going into the 7th Grade. I remember how much power the bulls had compared to cows and steers. It was a tough adjustment for me.”
Best had seen the challenges and adversity that those face when they go from cows and steers to bulls.
“Bull riding isn’t something you become great at overnight,” he says. “It takes work, day in and day out. It’s something you do only if you love it,” he says.
Best, the former 2011 INFR Bullriding champion still has lots left in him, although he expressed that this season has been somewhat trying at times.
“This season has been pretty slow simply because of lack of traveling and ongoing injuries,” said Best.
Best so far this season has competed in four total events in all parts of the country.
“I went to PBR New York and the first night I ended up 3rd overall and then 9th the next night.
He also competed at rodeos at Great Falls and Butte Montana where he finished 3rd as well as a rodeo in Ivins, Utah.
His next event will be somewhat relatively close to home: The World Champions Rodeo Alliance Major in Salt Lake City is going to be televised on CBS sports.
For the younger generation and upcoming bull riders, not giving up was the key message Best would like to get across.
“If I had any advice it would be don’t ever quit on yourself,” he said. “And always remember, some days are diamond and some days are dirt. Just keep digging.”