Hanging on, trying their best

Diné bull riders finish at the top at Wild Thing

bull and rider float in air

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Tustin Daye gets some air time aboard Blind Spot, a Owen Washburn bull, during the Wild Thing Championship BullRiding at Red Rock Park July 8. Daye finished in a two-way tie for second place with Ryan McConnell as both riders recorded a 91-point ride.

RED ROCK PARK, N.M.

Since his debut nine years ago, Tustin Daye has been on just about every kind of bull at the Wild Thing Bull Riding Championship.

In his first seven attempts, Daye came close to recording a score. Last year he finally broke through with a fourth place finish.

At this year’s annual event, he did himself better and finished in a two-way tie for second with Ryan McConnell as both cowboys posted a 91-point score.

“All of the bulls here are ranked and you just have to hang on and try your best,” said Daye, who netted $5,704.

Daye was one of five bull riders to cover their bulls during the two-day event. Sawmill, Arizona, cowboy Cody Jesus joined Daye as the only Diné to make the 8-second ride as Jesus placed fourth overall with an 89-point score that paid him $2,013.

“It feels good with the fans supporting me,” Jesus said about making the whistle. “You can’t fall off here at Red Rock, the money is good. All of the bulls are going to be great and I’m just happy with my performance.”

Going into the event, Daye was one of the top bull riders throughout the early part of 2017. The Lupton, Arizona, cowboy had won a few of the open bull ridings in the area, including the MegaBucks last month. In addition he’s sitting good in the INFR Tour Rodeo, having won the recent rodeo in Oklahoma.

“I’ve been on a roll and I have to keep it going,” said Daye, who added that being healthy for a good part of the year has led to his success albeit he did get stepped on during MegaBucks.

“If you are sore or hurting you have to ride through it,” he said.

Daye said having a “clear mind” helped him conquer the best bucking bulls including last Saturday night’s ride aboard Blind Spot, an Owen Washburn product.

“You have to block everything out and do your job,” he said. “With a clear mind you have to give a lot of try and don’t quit.”


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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at
qjodie@navajotimes.com