“…one of the top five bull riders of all time…”
-Donnie Gay, 8X PRCA World Champion Bull Rider
Yes, he said it. One of the world’s best bull riders of all time, Mr. Donnie Gay, said it. And it’s true. And as the rest of us say it out west – “The proof is in the pudding!”:
|1985**||IPRA||Champion Bull Rider|
|1991**||IPRA||Champion Bull Rider|
|1995||PRCA||Reserve Champion Bull Rider|
|1996**||PRCA||Champion Bull Rider|
|1996||BRO||Champion Bull Rider|
|1998||PBR||2nd Place Record for most consecutive rides (15)|
|2003**||PRCA||Champion Bull Rider|
**Terry Don West is the only Bull Rider in history to ever achieve as many titles across a broad spectrum of associations, as well as a 7-year break between his PRCA titles; and he did it over a mind-boggling 21-year career, from 1984 to 2005.
- Terry Don West only missed one year of competition during his impressive 21-year career; and that was in 1997, to take the time to recover from knee surgery.
- Terry Don West set a new record in 2003 for bull riders, earning over $211,000 in one season.
- Terry Don West was one of a handful of riders to ever cover the infamous “Bodacious” – and he did it not just once – but twice.
- Terry Don West was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame in May of 2016.
Terry Don West was born in 1965; back when bull riding was not a stand-alone event, and certainly not an era that saw the huge payouts that the event is now. Terry Don played an important role in building the sport to what it is today; garnishing huge audiences and big television ratings when he rode the virtually un-ride-able bull “Bodacious”. He also helped to promote the event as a stand-alone sport when he toured the world; riding in Australia, Canada, and Brazil. He started his career in rodeo at a very young age. He was only 4 years old when he snuck a ride on a dairy calf. By the age of 7, he entered his first rodeo. And he wasn’t stuck at one end of the arena. He competed in calf roping as well. After all, his father, Don West, was an IPRA Champion Calf Roper.
Terry Don has faced many challenges throughout his life; beginning with a Dad who was very concerned about his son and did not support Terry Don’s choice to ride bulls. In fact, Terry Don’s Dad forbade him to ride; and that was a big hurdle psychologically for him. When he began his professional career as a bull rider in 1984, he faced financial challenges. He had to play the game smart. The first five PRCA events that he entered, he was riding the very same bulls that his peers were riding, and winning, on – proficiently – and wasn’t marked for his efforts accordingly. He was considered somewhat of an “outsider” by those who had been making a name for themselves in the PRCA well in advance of his arrival from the IPRA. So – he went back to the IPRA for a short time, in order to make money and keep going. But he returned, and when he did – he came back with a vengeance. And he rode, and he won.
“Did you know that the first time I rode Bodacious, I earned $181.00; and the last time I earned $10,000.00?” – Terry Don West
Terry Don also suffered his fair share of serious injuries; not the least of which involved blows to his head and numerous concussions. His second ride on “Bodacious” resulted in a broken wrist, ribs, and punctured lung. However, he did not miss much time from his job; and only sat out a year when he needed time to recover from knee surgery in 1997.
Probably most notable, and assuredly most honorably in Terry Don’s career, is his willingness – and perhaps his inner sense of responsibility – to help others; in particular, our youth. When he was asked to get on Bodacious for a fifth time in the name of a children’s charity, he didn’t waver; even though it was the time before that had landed him in serious condition in the hospital. He didn’t complete the ride for charity, due to injury the day prior; but the money was donated anyway.
Currently, Terry Don dabbles in cattle trading and has started a new venture; this time in something way out of his established arena. He is now producing a series of events called “King of the Hill Break Away Roping”!
And, once again, he is attempting to make history by creating the richest breakaway roping event in history. It’s open to any age and promises to be fun for everyone. As he has always proven, Terry Don West is a true supporter of rodeo events and the people who compete in the arena. He forges ahead and is not afraid to go into areas previously unknown to him; and even bravely shares his strong faith in God, via weekly Facebook video messages.
Terry Don resides in Henryetta, Oklahoma and conducts regular bull riding clinics. His son, Trey Don West, is also a talented rider and raises some “buckers” of his own. Terry Don and Trey enjoy working together, produce jackpots and other bull riding events, and share a love and compassion for the ever-growing sport of Bull Riding.
Truth be known; Bull Riding wouldn’t be what it is today without Mr. Terry Don West.
For contact and more information on Terry Don West bull riding clinics, go to his website: www.terrydonwest.com.
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