At first, Daylen Powell tried to hide the fact that he was riding bulls from his mother.
“I had to sneak around a little bit, but now she understands how important it is to me,” the L.D. Bell rodeo team member said. “My mom thought it was just a phase, but once I spent a thousand dollars on gear, she realized I was serious.”
In fact, Powell was so serious about bull riding that he qualified for the North Texas High School Rodeo Association finals.
After listening to some friends talk about how much fun they had riding bulls, the Hurst L.D. Bell junior decided to give it a try. That was about a year ago.
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“I had a whole bunch of friends who did it, and they talked me into coming along one time,” he said. “That was all it took.”
He joined his friends at a place in Rendon, each paying $5 to ride a bull. Powell spent all he had on him as he rode several times.
The rush of being in a box with 1,800 pounds that does not want you riding it is unbelievable.
- Daylen Powell on riding bulls
“I had to get good fast to keep up with my friends,” Powell said, laughing.
“Daylen is a self-starter who is willing to seek out the opportunities to invest in his riding,” L.D. Bell rodeo sponsor Chris Currie said. “He works hard both academically and at his sport. He is willing to put forth the time and effort to improve his game and it is paying off. We are so proud of him.”
Powell was previously a soccer player, and a good one. He played for a club team in Dallas for eight years and considered trying to play in college before discovering rodeo.
“You always hear people say ‘I did motocross’ or something dangerous. I say I used to play soccer and their jaw drops,” Powell said, chuckling.
Powell’s participation in rodeo’s most dangerous sport has had some scary moments. For example, he was once bucked off by a 2,100-pound bull and injured his knee. Another time he broke his jaw.
“They (the medical staff) tried to give me some pills” for the pain. “I flushed them down the toilet. I do not ever want to become dependent on that to keep going.”
What he does count on, however, is the thrill that comes from competing.
“The rush of being in a box with 1,800 pounds that does not want you riding it is unbelievable,” he said. “As soon as you put your feet on there, you clock out completely. The way you slide down (in the chute), the way you hold the rope.
“All you see are shoulders. I hold my breath for a couple jumps. As soon as that bull starts spinning, everything freezes.”
Powell said he plans to increase his participation next year.
“I might do bareback or saddle bronc, so I can go for the all-around title,” he said.
He also wants to compete in college.
“I’d love to go to Tarleton State and be on their team,” he said. “But either way, I’ll keep riding.”