HELENEA — Ever wonder how rough stock riders prepare for their (hopeful) eight-plus seconds on a bronc?
MTN followed nine-time NFR qualifier and current 8th world ranked bareback rider Caleb Bennett at the Last Chance Stampede on Friday night.
MTN: What goes through your mind when you get into that chute?
Caleb Bennett: “Dealing with me, I've done it for so long. It's the same old stuff. Usually I focus on my fundamentals. Focus on, you know, what it takes to make that perfect ride even though I still don't believe there's such a thing as a perfect ride. Like we always have room for improvement but focus on you know that the basics of ride bucking horses, which in our events, keep your chin down squeezing your rig, and using your feet and then have fun most of all”
MTN: What do you eat on days like this? I can’t imagine sweets would be good before being thrown around.
Bennett: “I'm kind of strict with my eating, you know, and you see it more and more nowadays, like a lot of us are athletes like, this is a different breed and a different era. Rodeo athletes and cowboys out here. You know, we consider ourselves athletes, there's a lot of guys that are on kind of meal plans and taking care of themselves. So I mean, pretty light, usually it's a protein bar and an apple about three hours, two hours, before I arrived, you know, good source of carbs and energy and gives you gives you just enough to feel good, but doesn't make you full and miserable.”
MTN: I saw you out here stretching, what muscles are important to focus on before you get out there?
Bennett: “Warming up with bands and stuff is huge for what we do, we focus on our core, hip flexors, and our shoulders, our shoulders, you know, and arms, take a beating and doing this, of course our neck, but there's a lot of strain on our shoulders and arms and our core area. So we focus on really warming those areas up and getting those nice and warm. Not necessarily loose because you don't want to pull things, and I think that's how you end up pulling stuff if you're too loose, you know, so we always focus on stretching after we ride.”
MTN: Is there certain music that gets you excited to get out there? Or a certain song you secretly hope plays while you’re riding?
Bennett: “At this stage in the game, it's all based on the atmosphere of the crowd, you know, I mean, the music or the music guy usually plays pretty good tunes and gets us rocking and rolling. But the atmosphere of the crowd is huge. For what we do like the right crowd the right atmosphere will get your blood boiling. And when there's good horses underneath and a lot of money on the line. It even gets you more motivated and ready to rock.”
Bennett then took his ride on C5 Rodeo horse Sunday Sinner, the same horse he rode at last year’s Stampede, where he tied for third place. Friday night, he came back atop the leader board with 88 points.
MTN: How do you feel? You’re the new top dog.
Bennett: “Oh, I feel good. I mean, I kind of knew I had a good chance to you know, be up there in the money you know, somewhere first second third with that horse I had. I've been on him before and I knew what his chances of, you know, placing real good were on him and he had an awesome day too. I've been seeing him out lately and gosh dang I just grateful and thankful and blessed to be able to capitalize on it and make it work.”
MTN: What do you do now? Take Advil?
Bennett: “I take a bunch of aminos and protein, anything I can refuel the body with what’s good for me. And then of course, you will take some of the Aleve, you know, or anti inflammatories.”
MTN: You’ve won the Last Chance Stampede twice before. What would it mean to you to win bareback this year?
Bennett: “It'd be awesome actually, because I think here recently, they just barely bumped the money up, you know, last couple years and I don't know I've won this rodeo since they started adding $10,000 here. So to win this year with an add in, that kind of money would be awesome and mean a lot to me.”
Find Last Chance Stampede results from night two here.