Senior Geoff Erickson (Concord, NH) has been riding horses from before he was born. Geoff’s mother, Martha (leader of the Dublin equestrian program) was still competing and jumping horses when she was six months pregnant with Geoff. Born to the horse, Geoff actually started riding before he could walk. His love of riding and the barn life has led to riding broncos and breaking and training horses.
Almost two years ago, he decided that riding horses was not enough. Geoff decided he wanted to try Bull Riding, rodeo’s biggest challenge. The sport entails wrapping a leather thong around your hand and then trying to stay mounted on a 2000 pound, raging animal intent on throwing you clear of its back for eight seconds. If you manage to conquer that challenge, there remains the equally complex matter of dismounting the animal without breaking any bones. The ethos of the sport requires that no matter how painful your ride (or unintended dismount), that you “walk out on your two feet”.
Geoff found a Bull Riding school in Southern VA that was willing to take him on as a student. The school (Let R Buck) mainly caters to, in Geoff’s words, “bucket list, weekend cowboys who want try and ride a bull and then go home and tell their friends.” Geoff’s goal is a bit higher. He would like to ride in regional events and win some of the gaudy belt buckles that define rodeo success. He says that the owner sees promise in him and has been an a great mentor in getting Geoff started in competition. The fact that Geoff is enrolled at High Point University for the fall means that he can keep training at Let R Buck during the school year.
Asked why? Geoff smiles and quietly says, “Riding a bull puts lightening in your bones. You feel 10 feet tall. There is just so much power, so much suddenness in a bull. The adrenaline rush is beyond anything else.” Asked his parent’s reaction, he says “Mom is pretty calm about it. She wanted to try but too many broken bones over the years…. she is really supportive. Dad’s nervous but think’s it’s cool.”
Asked if there are any crossovers with Dublin, Geoff only pauses for a second and then says, that “there are tons of people in the bull riding world that are willing to help you. They want you to succeed. As long as you put in the work, they are there for you. Just like Dublin where you can explore anything you want, provided that you put in the work…” Geoff believes that he is the only bull rider in NH and certainly the only bull rider at Dublin.