Eight seconds. It doesn’t seem like much, but that is the amount of time when a bull rider must hold on for dear life, or risk being injured or killed.
Eight seconds of joy, bliss, anticipation, dread and triumph.
“It’s really hard to describe,” said Cody Hudson, a 15-year-old bull riding champion. “There’s this excitement, anticipation, adrenaline rush and thrill that goes with it. As a bull rider, you have to accept that at all times you may be injured or die. So you accept it, and you move on.”
Hudson, who will be a sophomore at Camas High School in the fall, has been bull riding since he was 7. So far, he’s compiled an impressive list of accomplishments.
These include Oregon Junior Bull Riding Association reserve champion for four years running, being ranked 10th in the nation at the National Junior Bull Riding Finals, National Youth Rodeo Association all-around cowboy, and reserve bull riding champion of the Oregon Junior Bull Riding Finals.
His training includes weight lifting, cardio, using a mechanical bull to practice his form, and using live practice bulls when possible.
“I take the chance whenever it comes,” Hudson said.
He spends much of his summer traveling to different competitions and participates in high school rodeos in the fall. These can get expensive, with entry fees ranging from $50 to $150, plus fuel costs, food and lodging. Often, he travels hundreds of miles to participate in rodeos.
Recently, his mom, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Chemotherapy treatments left her wiped out and unable to work many hours. Meanwhile, his dad, John, was hit hard by the recession, which forced him to close his business.
“I am trying to pay for as much as I can myself and need to be at events so that college scouts can see me ride,” Hudson said.
Hudson, who maintains a 3.5 GPA, decided to seek the community’s help because he wanted to lessen the burden on his parents to pay for rodeo expenses.
“Plus, if people sponsor me and I do well, others will see their business or company logo, which is like a big T.V. commercial but costs less,” he said.
Hudson has sent out a variety of sponsor letters to area businesses.
His ultimate goal is lofty: Hudson wants to qualify for the Wangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and last the 10 rounds to become world champion. Some people may recall the dramatic scene at that rodeo from the movie, “Eight Seconds,” where Luke Perry, portraying the late Lane Frost, won the world championship there at the age of 21.
“That’s my dream,” Hudson said. “I want to be the world champion.”
For more information or to donate, call Hudson at 852-0964 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.