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Evergreen graduate overcoming injuries to get back to riding bulls

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By Michael Hicks

 

It didn’t go the way Ian Mather had hoped it would, but, after all he had been through in the past couple of months, at least he was riding.

The 2000 Evergreen High School graduate and 10-year rodeo veteran was back riding bulls at the El Pinal Rodeo Grounds on the opening night of this year’s Evergreen Rodeo. 

That’s a far cry from where he was two months earlier when a bull, during a practice session, stepped on his back and punctured his lungs and broke five ribs.

But for a guy who has dealt with a broken leg, broken ribs and sore knees this was just another minor setback. Mather was going to get back to riding as soon as he physically could.

“If you’re going to ride bulls you just got to ride as many bulls as you can,” Mather said. “You kind of got to block that fear out of your head.”

So there he was on June 18 during the Professional Bull Riders event, steadying himself on the Tough Company Rodeo bull Ice Man. The 17th rider out of the gate out of 34 competitors, Mather’s first ride in two months and only second ever at his hometown rodeo was anything but what he expected. Almost as soon as Mather got on Ice Man he was flung back into the shoot -- finishing a ride that barely reached two seconds.

“I don’t know. I’d like a re-ride, but they don’t give re-rides for that. That’s all on my shoulders. I did the wrong thing. I leaned out and put my weight to the side. I can’t ask for a re-ride or anything. Oh well, the night’s over,” Mather said.

That might’ve been the case, but, in actuality, this may have been just the beginning of the 28-year-old Denver resident’s revitalization of his rodeo career. At least that’s what he’s hoping for.

While the self-employed construction worker and father of one has laid low from the rodeo circuit in recent times he’s hopeful to get back to a time when he was practicing three times and riding in three or four rodeos in a week.

“Nowadays I’m riding half, not even half, as much as I used to,” Mather said. 

“But I hope to go pretty hard (soon). I’m feeling good. It’s time to hit the road.”

And, who knows, maybe that will lend itself to more success in the rodeo arena in the process.