Wade Leslie: The Making of a Professional Bull Rider

Wade Leslie grew up in a rodeo family.

Wade Leslie grew up in a rodeo family.

Editor’s Note: Wade Leslie, of Quincy, Washington, is the only man in the history of bull riding to ride a perfect ride. He and the bull scored 100 points each – all the points that can be scored by the bull and the rider in professional rodeo bull riding. Some say there is no possibility to score 100 points for a bull ride. Others who have seen the ride on video say that Leslie should not have been awarded 100 points for his ride. But the fact remains that in open competition against other bull riders in a professional rodeo event, Leslie and the bull, Wolfman Skoal, for 8 seconds were as perfect as they possibly could be. As a matter of fact, this year Leslie was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in a new category called Best Score. But what has happened to Leslie since that unbelievable ride? What does he ride now? What is his life like? Whatever has happened to the best bull rider in the history of the sport? This week we will learn about Leslie’s ride, the tragedies he’s suffered, the endurance he’s demonstrated and the world of the man who has ridden the perfect ride. Part 1 of a 5 part series. 

Wade Leslie started roping steers when he was 5-years old, and he got on his first calf around the same time. Leslie grew-up in a rodeo family. His dad competed in rodeos on occasion and his uncle, Milton Leslie, competed for several years. “When I got on my first steer, I was hooked on riding rough stock,” Wade Leslie explains. “I’d go to play day events when I was a kid and ride steers. When I was 12-years old, I joined the Northwest Junior Rodeo Association. That year I won the championship for all-round and the championship for bull riding in the junior event.” At 12-years old, Leslie got on his first full-sized bull, and when he was 16, he started riding competitively on the NPRA (Northwest Professional Rodeo Association) circuit. Then he rode on the Washington Rodeo Association and the Oregon Rodeo Association circuits. In his junior year in high school, Leslie decided to drop out, thinking he could make more money riding bulls than he could continuing his high school education. He worked during the week to earn money for the rodeos on the weekends. He started working at a hamburger restaurant because the owner had an indoor arena and practice bulls. His parents moved to northern Washington but Leslie stayed behind and lived in a room at the arena. In the mornings, he’d feed the bulls and the bucking horses and clean the arena. At night, he would work at the hamburger restaurant, and then twice a week he was allowed to ride the practice bull. On the weekend, he would rodeo. Leslie really believed he had it made. He even rode saddle broncs for a while.

Wade Leslie loved the adrenaline rush bull riding gave him.

Wade loved the adrenaline rush bull riding gave him.

All the rodeos he rode in at this time were amateur rodeos. There was a national organization that held a rodeo and featured the top two riders in each event for every amateur rodeo circuit in the country. Leslie entered and won the bull riding event. “I made enough money to pay for all my expenses and a little extra to buy things, so I was doing well,” Leslie remembers. After winning, Leslie went pro. “I’ve often been asked, ‘What do you like about bull riding?’ My answer has always been that bull riding is something not everyone can do. You are either going to like it or you’re not going to like it. There is no in between. I also found out I was pretty good at it. There is a big adrenaline rush when you climb on top of a big bull that you know has the ability to hurt you or possibly kill you. Every time the gate opens for the bull and the rider to come out to perform, you know that this may be your last day on earth. There is just something about getting on an animal like that and having the ability to conquer them for 8 seconds that makes you feel like you are walking on a cloud. When you get off the bull and start walking back toward the chutes, there is an adrenaline rush that is indescribable.” The adrenaline rush may be one of the factors that keeps Leslie risking life and limb on the backs of bucking bulls. But the money and the fame are also very addictive.

To learn more about Wade Leslie, go to www.100pointspurcompany.com.

Next: The Day Wade Leslie Rode His Perfect Bull Ride


About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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