CLOVIS — When a load of the rankest bulls in the West hits town, you know professional bullriders can’t be far behind.
This weekend, 35 riders from three different sanctions took part in the bullriding during the Clovis Invitational Bullriding and Barrel Racing an event sanctioned by the National Federation of Professional Bullriders.
Clint Jackson, NFPB president and founder, said shortly before the show Saturday that the event was enjoying a good run at the Curry County Events Center.
Jackson set Freedom New Mexico up with the chance to talk with a couple of the NFPB’s top bullriders — veteran Adam Proctor of Fairgrove, Mo., who has made the NFPB Finals 10 years straight and Henry Yoder, of Welda, Kan., who left the Amish lifestyle he grew up with in Missouri to ride bulls for when he turned 17.
The interviews were like the Ying and Yang of bullriding, with Yoder in tune to the mental side of the event and Proctor on board for the energy it provides.
How long have you been riding and when did you know you wanted to go pro?
Proctor: “I’ve been riding 18 years. I was pretty much an adrenaline junkie and my neighbor had done it so I wanted to ride too.
Yoder: “I’ve been riding since I was 17, so that’s seven years now. Right after I started riding I started having big dreams. I kept telling myself if I want to be the best I have to dream big.”
What routines or superstitions do you follow before a ride?
Yoder: “Daily meditation. Your mind focus is very important. Imagine yourself riding the rankest bull in the pen and I envision myself as No. 1 at the end of the day.”
Proctor: “I stretch and get my ropes ready. I don’t have any superstitions; I just go with the flow. I’m a winger, not a planner.”
If you’re not riding what are you doing?
Proctor: “I’m a diesel mechanic in Springfield, Mo.
Yoder: “I love to go hunting and fishing, I’m an outdoor type. I work construction parttime and stay in shape and do my bullriding homework.”
Tell us about your best ride ever.
Yoder: “I’ve put on a few good rides here and there and been above 90 points several times. What I’ve done in the past is in the past though, I’m not looking for that one ride, I’m looking for long-term results.”
Proctor: “It was in Salem, Missouri, 94 points on a bull named Frappuchino. He was a bucker and I won that night.”
What advice do you have for a rookie?
Proctor: “Don’t be a sissy. If you ain’t tough enough, you ain’t going to be a bullrider.”
Yoder: “The first couple of years you never know how far you can actually take it until you get out there. It’s all in your heart. A positive attitude will bring you to a good result.”