Cheyenne was where it damn near ended for Outlaw in 2018.
Last year, he took a vicious hit to the face that could very well have ended his career and, perhaps, it could have even taken his life.
As it were, he broke every bone in his face and shattered both eye sockets. Doctors needed 68 screws, 12 plates and four pieces of surgical mesh to reconstruct his face. He not only returned to competition within two months of the wreck, but he miraculously still qualified for the PBR World Finals.
This season has been a career year for him.
He’s already made 31 qualified rides at the elite level—two shy of his career-high, a stat which he will no doubt crush by season’s end. His riding average of 50.8 percent is a career-record for any season in which he attempted at least 50 bulls at the televised level of competition.
And the more than $391,000 he’s won is already a season-high for him.
“I’m swinging for the fences,” said Outlaw, and on the rare occasion that he’s had a bad event, he added, “Just because you got bucked off yesterday, it’s a new day.”
PBR cofounder and longtime livestock director, Cody Lambert, called Outlaw a warrior.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride agreed.
“That’s exactly what this little guy is,” McBride said. “He’s got a big heart and a lot of guts.”
Tuesday night, in Cheyenne, he gutted out a 93.5-point effort on Smooth Wreck.
It is the only time Smooth Wreck has been ridden in 10 outs this year, so it was only fitting that Outlaw’s score is the high-marked ride of the elite televised season.
He also tapped off on Rising Sun for 90.5 points and then after bucking off Cochise in Round 5, Outlaw had to wait through several attempts and re-rides from the other three riders in the final round before his combined 183.5 points gave him his third event win of the season—Kansas City and St. Louis being the other two.
“The riding was awesome,” McBride said, “but to come back from what he’s come back from, in the exact same arena is a great job for Outlaw.”
Outlaw added, “What doesn’t break you, will build you and I owe it all to the man upstairs. He’s not done with me. … I owe it all to him and everybody who said a prayer for me.”
Fellow Monster Energy rider Jose Vitor Leme, who had previously been the top-ranked bull rider in the world, finished the Cheyenne event fifth and slipped to second in the world.
Outlaw, Leme and the rest of the Monster Energy team will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the BOK Center on August 10 and 11.