These days, Ross Coleman spends a vast majority of his waking hours chasing after his 2-year-old son Crece and chauffeuring his 5- and 7-year-old sons – Cruse Lee and Cooper Teague – from T-ball to baseball and basketball to pee wee football.
There are also junior rodeos on the weekends.
It’s a full schedule for Coleman, 36, and his wife Amy.
“They are nonstop wide open,” said Coleman, who admitted life is a lot more mentally and physically demanding than before he retired from the PBR midseason in 2011.
Professional bull riding doesn’t even begin to compare to keeping up three active boys “all day long,” especially when they’re awake and ready to tackle the day before the sun is even up.
“It’s been a damn train wreck,” Coleman laughed, “but it’s been good.”
Coleman is about to get reminder of just what it was like being a bull rider.
He and seven other Ring of Honor members – J.W. Hart, Justin McBride, Michael Gaffney, Mike White, Chris Shivers, Tater Porter and Cody Custer – are taking part in a winner-take-all pay-per-view event being billed as “Unfinished Business.”
“That’s true,” agreed Coleman, when it’s pointed out that he gets more of a daily workout raising three boys in Texas than he ever did while he was riding bulls, “but it’s just one ride. It’s not like you have to go and get on two or three.
“No, there’s not much time left, so ready or not here we come.”
In January, the May 30 event, in Decatur, Texas, felt like a lifetime away.
Coleman, who was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2012, was only slightly surprised by the nature of Hart’s call to action, but he wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity to “strap it on” one more time.
“First off,” Coleman recalled, “I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me?’ But, heck, you never know with J-Dub. He’ll throw some curve balls every now and then.
“When he does something like this and he mentions Justin, Jim, Mike White and Chris Shivers, it’s like not only do I feel privileged to be part of the group, but more than happy to damn sure be part of the group. There was no way I would say no to that situation. He knew without even asking me I would be in it.
“We’re not 20 years old and ready to just strap it on anything that walks,” said Coleman, who is looking to select a bull that kicks with good timing. “No dirty rank eliminators. Reality is fixing to take place.”
Though he hasn’t confirmed his choice, Coleman is seriously considering Prairie Bandit.
The former Back Seat Bucker is now a 4-year-old ABBI Classic bull that was recently bought by Edward Martinez and his father Tino.
Earlier this month, the bull won fourth in a Classic Derby held during the annual Spring Fling event, in Stephenville, Texas, for former Back Seat Buckers. It was after that outing that Martinez made the purchase.
“I think it would be a good deal,” said Edward Martinez, when asked what he thought of Coleman’s idea.
“He’d be a pretty good fit for him. He’s going to do the same thing every single time. He’s Mr. Dependable. He’s super dependable, so that’s why we—that’s why I kind of wanted him. He’s 100 miles per hour and he does the exact same thing every single time.”
Coleman, who works closely with the BSB program for the ABBI, has seen Prairie Bandit since he was 2 years old.
As a Classic bull, he will be out of the right-hand delivery and within one jump from the gate he will turn back into Coleman’s right hand.
Edward Martinez said the bull is good for 86 or 87 points.
Prairie Bandit will be used in the long round at Built Ford Tough Series events and Velocity events as well as short rounds at a few lower-level Touring Pro Division events and college rodeos. They made the purchase to help fill up their trailer when they head down the road this spring and summer.
“He’s all right,” said Edward Martinez, who noted that Prairie Bandit is between 1,500 and 1,600 pounds and still growing and filling out, but already has a strong, muscular body. “That bull, if you stub your toe you’re not going to get past him.”
Coleman added, “That’s the one I’ve got my mind on as of right now.”
Coleman actually has a long and memorable history with this particular bull or, at least, one that dates back a few years when he drove to Western Colorado to pick up him up prior to the BSB draft and haul him to Scott Accomazzo’s ranch in Texas.
However, after driving straight back to Henrietta, Texas, Coleman unloaded Prairie Bandit into a horse lot next to his own arena and got a few hours of sleep before trying to load the bull back on the trailer early in the next morning.
“It was damn sure a little bit of a chore trying to get him loaded out there in the dark by myself,” said Coleman, who then took him to the Ace of Spades Ranch in nearby Stephenville.
“He bucks good. He’s a solid bull. That’s the bull I’m looking forward to. Hell, I’ve been talking about it so much I ought to just nail it down.”
In the meantime, he plans to drive a couple hours northeast to Hart’s ranch, where the two are expected to get on practice bulls for the first time. Coleman said he thought McBride planned to join them as well.
Hopefully his first practice bull is better than his first set of sit ups.
The night he talked with Hart, in mid-January, he decided to see how many sit ups he could do after putting his three boys to bed.
“My back went out and it damn sure was out for a couple days,” Coleman said. “It hurt. My hip and back were all jacked up, so I went to the chiropractor and got it all adjusted and everything. Then I slowly started doing more sit ups. I damn sure want to make a ride, but when I do make the ride I hopefully won’t have to work my ass off the whole time.”
Coincidentally, Edward Martinez said Prairie Bandit is so fast that riders tend to override him.
They tend to overcompensate and make their moves ahead of the bull.
Unlike some of the current Top 35 riders, Coleman won’t be so quick to override Prairie Bandit in May either.
“It’s a challenge,” Coleman said. “You challenge yourself every day, you know, waking up and challenging yourself to do a quick workout or getting up earlier than everybody else and getting everything set up for the day. In the bull riding world you have to live by the creed and I was called out by J.W. and challenged to get my ass in shape.”
It’s been nearly four years since Coleman last rode bulls.
However, in the prime of his career, Coleman was among the greats of the game.
He was the first rider in PBR history to compete in at least 300 BFTS events, the first to earn at least 400 qualified rides and the first to surpass 800 outs by the time he called it a career.
He was raised in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2005, he hosted his first TPD event in his hometown of Molalla, Oregon, which fellow riders affectionately referred to as “summer camp.” He held the event every year for nearly a decade, and in 2009 and again in 2010 riders voted the Molalla event the top TPD event of the year. More importantly, it raised more than $250,000 for charity.
Coleman won his first buckle, which he gave away to a terminally ill boy he met that night, when he was only 11. In 1997, he won the national high school bull riding and all-around titles and met McBride that fall when the two attended the University of Nevada – Las Vegas on a rodeo scholarship. In 1998, as a freshman, he added a national college all-title to his list achievements.
For one night, in May, Coleman and the others will look to relive their greatest days riding bulls.
And that one bull will likely be Prairie Bandit.
“I was looking forward to it the day he told me about it,” Coleman said, “and now reality is starting to set in.
“It’ll be fun no matter what the outcome, which I hope every one of us ride our bulls and stay on for 8 seconds and just spur the hair off them. I know that no matter happens we’re going to make this deal fun.”
SAYiWONT AND I WILL: Coleman is teaming up with his longtime sponsor SAYiWON’T clothing, who had a brand new pair of chaps made for the Unfinished Business event. According to Coleman, following the event, he plans to have all eight of the legends sign the chaps as well as some of the top current PBR riders, who are competing that night in the Velocity event. The chaps will then be auctioned off and the proceeds will donated to the Hart’s event for charity. More information will be made available closer to the event on the SAYiWON’T Facebook page.