Two up-and-coming Cariboo bull riders are readying themselves for the 2023 Indoor Rodeo in Williams Lake by riding bulls south of the border.
“I love the indoor rodeo, it’s pretty fun,” said one of the two, Eric O’Flynn, noting it is close to home for the Quesnel bull riders, which is a nice change when the summer is spent on the road.
“All my friends come out, my mom comes out, my family comes out – it’s a great event, honestly, everyone is there supporting,” he said.
O’Flynn and Clay Gordon are best friends and travelling partners. The two young men have been down in the United States training for the coming rodeo season with some of the best in the world.
“There’s lots happening down in the States, so you come down a month or two before and get tuned up and try and dominate,” explained O’Flynn.
“It’s pretty exciting to be over here, let alone riding bulls,” Gordon said of the trip. It is his first time in the U.S. and he said the pair were getting to learn from some of the best bull riders in the world.
They started off in Alba, Texas, riding up to three bulls a day at Gary Leffew’s Bull Riding School.
Leffew is a former world champion bull rider and well-known in bull riding for his emphasis on positive thinking.
They were spending weekends hitting up local rodeos to test the training in the arena.
So far both had already sustained early season injuries from the punishing sport.
O’Flynn said he hurt his foot coming off one bull and Gordon said he had hurt his ankle as well as some ribs, but neither one seemed fazed at all.
“You kind of just got to live with it, take some Tylenol and it goes away in about a week or two,” said O’Flynn of how they cope with the injuries.
Black Press Media caught up with both men after they had just arrived in Nipomo, California, having driven through the night to get to a ranch owned by Gary Leffew’s son.
There they would once again be riding up to three bulls a day before heading up north back across the border.
Back in B.C. the plan is to stop en route to the Indoor Spring Classic at a friend’s ranch in Armstrong where they will spend more time training.
So far in the U.S. neither one had placed in the local rodeos they entered, they both were hopeful things would turn around.
“I got a good feeling,” said Gordon.