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Just being a cowboy is enough for Hall of Fame bull rider Justin McBride

Two-time world champion bull rider Justin McBride will be inducted into the Texas Cowboys Hall of Fame Thursday evening. He won PBR gold buckles in 2005 and 2007.
Two-time world champion bull rider Justin McBride will be inducted into the Texas Cowboys Hall of Fame Thursday evening. He won PBR gold buckles in 2005 and 2007. Special to the Star-Telegram

When two-time Professional Bull Riders world champion Justin McBride is inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame on Thursday evening, the Whitesboro resident will relish just being a cowboy.

“I was lucky enough to be a bull rider, but I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy from the time I was a little bitty kid,” McBride said. “I’ve always said, ‘I was a cowboy who got to ride bulls to make a living.’ 

McBride won PBR gold buckles in 2005 and 2007.

Joining McBride in the Class of 2016 are horse trainers Jack Brainard and C.W. Cascio, veterinarian and horse breeding specialist Charles Graham and the Gatlin Brothers, a country singing group. The induction ceremony is at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame building in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The event is sold out.

It took the same thing to win in bull riding as it did with wrestling. It was on you.

Bull rider Justin McBride

McBride competed on the PBR circuit from 1999 through 2008. He has $5,150,052 in career earnings and ranks third on the PBR’s all-time list.

Defending world champion J.B. Mauney, a North Carolina cowboy, is ranked No. 1 with $6,718,083, and three-time gold buckle winner Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, is second with $5,590,670.

Today, McBride, 36, regularly serves as a TV sports commentator for the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series, the association’s top tier tour. He also conducts bull riding clinics.

The key to riding bulls is mental toughness, McBride said.

“There has to be no whining, no excuses,” he said. “That was instilled in me at a young age. I just grew up not knowing any other way. When I got a little bit older, I started competing in wrestling. I learned if I worked hard at it, I did good, but if somebody worked harder, they beat me. It was those types of experiences that molded me to the bull rider I later became.”

McBride said a common thread in bull riding and wrestling is they are individual sports.

When you’re in Texas and you have your hats and boots on, it’s not like: ‘Where did that guy come from?’ You’re just like everybody else. I like that pride and respect for the cowboy.

Justin McBride on moving back to Texas

“It took the same thing to win in bull riding as it did with wrestling. It was on you,” McBride said. “There wasn’t anybody to blame if you got beat, it was your own fault. Anytime you get bucked off of a bull, from Bodacious to Bushwacker to Oscar, it’s because you did something wrong.”

McBride was born in Belton in 1979 and lived in Texas until he was about 8 or 9, he said. McBride mostly grew up in Mullin, Neb., on a spacious ranch and finished high school in 1997. When McBride began excelling on the PBR tour in the late 1990s, he moved near Elk City, Okla., where he purchased ranch land. Two years ago, he moved to Whitesboro.

“One of the reasons I’ve moved back to Texas is because of the heritage, the pride Texas has as a state,” he said. “You move to a different country when you move to Texas. They really are proud of this state. When you’re in Texas and you have your hats and boots on, it’s not like: ‘Where did that guy come from?’ You’re just like everybody else. I like that pride and respect for the cowboy.”

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