August 16, 2017
Bobby Mote, the four-time world champion bareback rider, announced his retirement today. The 41-year old rider is considered one of the most consistent riders in the sport and is the all-time highest money winner in bareback riding.
“I know what it takes to win a world championship and I’m not willing to do whatever it takes anymore,” Mote said in a released statement. “It is time for me to walk away from bareback riding.”
During his career, Mote made 15 consecutive National Finals Rodeo events and won four world championships, two national championships reserve world champion titles.
Mote released a more detailed letter to fans via his social media accounts. You can read the full letter below.
Over the last couple of years I’ve thought a lot about when I might retire, how I would do it, what it would look like and I’ve never quite been able to figure it out. Driving home from Rodeo Houston Finals this year, the strangest feeling came over me. I didn’t have another rodeo to drive to or get ready for. Every other trip home I would drive out making plans to go to the next rodeo, how I was going to get there, the horse I was going to have. My whole life has been about preparing for the next horse, but all of a sudden I didn’t feel like preparing anymore. About a week or two later I was sitting at my kitchen table and looked up at a picture Matt Cohen took of me behind the chutes getting ready to ride. I looked at it and what overcome with emotion and I started bawling like a baby. It occurred to me that this chapter was done. I don’t know how to explain to somebody what it feels like to walk away from something that is all you have ever dreamt about or worked for. I always knew it was inevitable but never really wanted to face it. HOW IT ALL STARTED. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowboy. I rode my first bareback horse when I was 15 and I was hooked. I was neither athletic nor coordinated, but I was determined and I had Chris Ledoux’s music to fuel my dreams. There was a practice pen in Powell Butte Oregon, and for $8 you could ride a bucking horse or a bull. I couldn’t get anybody to give me a ride to the practice pen; but I had a learner’s permit, so I talked my Grandma Laura (who was in her high 80s at the time) into riding with me so that I would be legal to drive. The first horse I rode was named “Squeak”. He basically ran from the bucking chutes to the other end of the arena and made a lot of noise. I rode him all of the way to the pick up man and from that point on, I had my heart set on being a bareback rider. At some point, I decided that I wanted to be a Pro Bareback Rider, only problem was I didn’t have any skills or much promise to get any better. Nearly every time I got on I got hurt. For the first few years I was scared to death every time I got on a bareback horse. Thank goodness my desire to be a great bareback rider overrode my anxiety. Once I felt like I was figuring it out I started entering rodeos and winning a little money. When I was 17 I told my teachers that I was done with school and I was just going to rodeo for a living. My teachers told me that was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard and that I would never make a living rodeoing. There were a lot of times during my career that I thought about those conversations with teachers who said I was never going to amount to anything and I was pretty proud that I was earning more than they were. Looking back, I obviously wish that I had stuck it out and finished school, mainly because I am not proud of the fact that I quit. Also, at 17 I didn’t think about the fact that I had picked a career that expired for most people in their 30s. Furthermore, I didn’t know one person who had been able to retire from rodeo…but nobody could reason with me at the time. WHAT A RIDE. I’ve been very blessed to have a career where I made 15 NFR’s in row, won 4 world championships, 2 national championships, and I was the reserve world champion many times. People said that I was one of the most consistent bareback riders that there has ever been. Looking back at the goals that I set when I was just starting out, I accomplished all of them. There are not many people who can say that they were able to do just what they wanted to do for as long as they wanted to. I’ve met a lot of good people through rodeo and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve also gotten to see more crazy things than most people could ever imagine. I’ve been on top of the world and felt like I had everything going my way and I’ve laid on the bed in the emergency room thinking that I was going to die. I have had surgeons tell me that I was through and that there was nothing they could do for me … that I should hang it up. Every time I got knocked down I climbed back up. Fast forward to today, I am 41 years old and I have given everything that I have to give to rodeo. My family has been beside me through this roller coaster ride every step of the way. Now my kids are 16, 14 and 10 and their entire life I have been on the road. At some point you realize that your kids really don’t care if you have four gold buckles or five, they love me all the same. I think that I was the only one who it mattered to. I know what it takes to win a world championship and I’m not willing to do whatever it takes anymore, so it is time for me to walk away from bareback riding. I’d like to thank all people stuck with me through this incredible journey. I am grateful to my family for being my biggest supporters, friends who have helped me, and the amazing fans who have cheered for me. There have been a lot of doctors, surgeons and sports medicine trainers who have been responsible for holding me together… thank you. I am most grateful to the Lord for giving me so many opportunities to fulfill my dreams. A NEW CAREER. A NEW DREAM. Today, I have moved on to a new venture, which I’ve been passionate about for many years. I love and appreciate truly great horses and now I have the opportunity to ride some of the best every day. I have taken a position with Reliance Ranches, which has a leading quarter horse racing program (in addition to the Lazy E Arena and Lazy E Ranch). Reliance Ranches quarter horse genetics are really tops in the quarter horse racing industry. One of my roles is to take post racing career horses who have the best conformation and disposition and prepare them to become roping and barrel racing horses. This is really exciting to me given the fact that these horses are extremely athletic and have wonderful minds. Reliance Ranches has given me the liberty to take as much time as needed with each horse while teaching them new skills. I believe the most important factor when you start with such talented animals is a solid foundation of being “very well broke.” Many of these horses will start out with 90 days of cutting horse training along with lots of ranch riding. Once I feel like they have all of the control they need, we move them into roping or offer them as barrel racing prospects. My goal is to provide the customer with a horse that can win at a very high level and provide the horse with a job where it’s true potential can be realized. In coming blog posts I will introduce you to some of these amazing horses and give you an inside look at the program. So make sure you click the follow button to stay in touch. I count myself as truly blessed to be able to move from one successful career of doing what I loved to a new career of doing what I love. Until next time. Bobby Mote