CODY, Wyo. — Parker Breding climbed aboard Turnabout 10 days ago at the Cody Extreme Bulls Challenge ready to record his first 90-point ride of the season. A second later, he was on the ground in search of answers.
“He kind of got into my head,” Breding said. “I was telling my dad on the way home, ‘I don’t know how to ride that one or what to try different.'”
That wasn’t a good thought, because Breding knew he had to get aboard the same bull the next night for his Cody Stampede ride. Two years ago, he would have had no chance. But now, the Edgar native has a new process that starts with his bull riding mentor.
“My dad taught me everything I know,” Breding said about his father, Scott Breding, a five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “I’ve had some problems with positivity over the years. I kind of have a negative mind-frame here and there if I didn’t like my bull. I’ve fought to change that a little bit to where I’m trying to fit every bull to what his style is and believe I can ride him no matter what.”
With Scott looking on, Parker did just that, riding Turnabout to 92.5 points, his best PRCA score ever — another milestone in a bountiful last 18 months. After missing the NFR in 2016 and 2017, Breding finished fourth last season — his best ever — and is No. 3 right now after winning more than $11,000 during Cowboy Christmas.
“The first part of my career, I was kind of just riding bulls,” Parker said. “I loved every minute of it, but I didn’t really believe I had what it took to be at the top. I just wanted to make the NFR and be happy with that. But after getting my butt in gear last year, it really showed me that it is possible, that I could creep up there, and who says I couldn’t win the world?”
Scott sure doesn’t anymore.
“I didn’t believe it would ever go this far,” Scott admitted. “I mean, if he wanted to, sure, but you really don’t know until you’re there. I was simply amazed. I said, ‘Wow, he’s doing it better than I did.'”
This year will mark Parker’s fourth career NFR trip — just one short of his dad’s five — and it seems Scott is having more fun now than during his own days in the chute.
“It’s exciting, it’s just like when I was riding,” Scott said. “Whether (Parker’s) riding or whoever, I’m still into bull riding.”
“I try to bring my dad to anything he can make it to, because just having his presence makes me feel so much more comfortable,” Parker said. “And I know he loves every second of it.”
The question for the 26-year-old now is, how much longer will he chase the dream?
“I’ve still got that gold buckle in my sights,” Parker said. “It seems like a long shot most of the time, but I’m not backing down. I’m just trying to keep blinders on. You have to focus on you and what you have control over. That’s been the biggest battle to me as far as staying successful.”
“He’s so dry-humored, he’s hard to read,” laughed Scott, “so he makes me think that he’s not going to go too much longer, but I’m thinking he probably will.”
It’d be hard to stop now in what looks like Parker’s prime.