“It’s not if you’re going to get hurt riding bulls,” said Williams, who was bucked. “It’s when and how bad. So we all kind of know it’s going to happen and it can happen. We just don’t want it to. If you let it bother you, it’s going to bother you, then it’s going to bother you, but it’s one of those deals where you’ve got to accept it and just go on with it.”
Williams knows something about wrecks himself. In 2014, he was stomped by a bull and left with a shattered femur.
“I don’t recall my own injuries,” Williams said. “I put stuff like that out of my head.”
It’s a common, and necessary, mantra among competitors at the CNFR. As negative as Gray’s ride Thursday was, there’s only one mindset that works in rodeo.
“You’ve just got to think positive,” said Panhandle State’s Cody Ballard, who also knows Gray from their time rodeoing in Australia. “I think rodeoing is 90, 95 percent the mind. You’ve just got to stay positive.”
“You can’t go about anything in this sport half-heartedly,” Williams added. “And being negative definitely does not make you go at something and give it your all. If you’re not positive, then you might as well not tie your hand onto your bull or get on your horse that night. Because it’s not going to go in your favor.
“Animals feed off that stuff. … It’s a different deal. You have to stay positive. You have to put good things out there into the world to get big things back.”
His positive mindset extends to Gray, whose condition has improved, but is still in critical condition at Wyoming Medical Center, where he has undergone multiple surgeries.
“We’re cowboys,” Williams said. “We don’t quit. So he ain’t gonna. He’ll be all right.”
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