Paraplegic Wade Leslie Returns to the Real World

Wade Leslie grew up in a rodeo family.

Bullriding was in Wade Leslie’s blood

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 50 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 4 of a 5 part series. 

After rehab, Leslie and his family were broke. His wife began working for a rodeo newspaper and selling advertisements. “Life was going on, even though my life was different”. Eventually, his family moved back to Moses Lake in Washington, which had been their home before the accident. “I wasn’t happy in my wheelchair, and I started trying to learn ways to get out of it,” Leslie says. His friend Mike Beers, a world champion calf roper, told him about a man in Arizona who was practicing a type of therapy that was helping a lot of people who had spinal cord injuries and were in wheelchairs. He went to Arizona for 6 months to get this therapy which was funded by his friend, Jan Teraway. “Anne didn’t really know me, but she had heard about what had happened to me, and she jumped in to help,” Leslie explains. “She found out that I wasn’t eligible for the Cowboy Crisis Fund, because I wasn’t hurt in the arena. So, she just stepped in, out of the goodness of her heart and helped us.” The therapist used light and sound therapy, and exercises to help strengthen and rebuild muscle. Leslie could tell the therapy was helping and he also learned many new exercises that helped him strengthen his body. He was able to stand with a walker and could walk about 20 feet.

In order to do the things he enjoyed, Wade would need a wheelchair that could take him places.

In order to do the things he enjoyed, Wade would need a wheelchair that could take him places.

Back in Washington, Leslie and his wife finally divorced. “My wife and I decided that we were better at being friends than we were at being married,” Leslie explains. Then, when his therapist moved to Florida Leslie moved with him. The Florida trip only lasted about 3 months, before Leslie moved back to Washington. When he finished his therapy in Florida and moved back home, his divorce was final. Today Leslie makes jewelry and spurs, and hunts and fishes. He bought his first power chair to go into the back country where he loved to go before his accident, but he learned quickly that the power chairs get stuck in gravel and dirt. So, now he had a new problem to try and solve. He had to figure out how to adapt a battery-powered wheelchair to go off-road. In many of the wilderness areas where he hunted and fished, no gasoline-powered engines were permitted. But, rather than be discouraged, Leslie decided that his dilemma was just one more problem to solve.

This belt buckle is an example of Wade Leslie's quality silver-work.

This belt buckle is an example of Wade Leslie’s quality silver-work.

To learn more about Wade Leslie, go to Or, go to to see “The Perfect Ride.”

Next: Instead of Climbing on a Bull, Wade Leslie Goes Outdoors


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

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One Response to Paraplegic Wade Leslie Returns to the Real World

  1. Tyler Mosher says:

    This story is far to common post rehab.

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