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Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson speak with Bareback Rider Tim O’Connell about his first experience at the National Finals Rodeo:

Tim O’Connell

The 2014 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas recently wrapped up their championship and at least 1 of the new competitors was thrilled and honored. “The experience of competing in my 1st NFR has been a dream come true,” O’Connell expressed, “That is something that any cowboy and cowgirl that ever competed in Rodeo, at a professional level, at an amateur level, at any level, everybody wants to make the NFR.  That’s like the Super Bowl of Rodeo to us.  To get to that point and to make it there was basically living a dream, making a dream come true.”

This long time rider has been nothing less than %100 determined and dedicated to the Rodeo life. “This was something that I’ve worked extremely hard for,” said O’Connell, “Bareback riding is a physically demanding sport.  I mean, if you look at the past, most of the guys that are in the top 15 in the world are in their mid 20’s.  To make it at 23 years old is a huge accomplishment to myself.  I really wanted it, I really worked hard for it this year, and I went out and accomplished a dream and a goal of mine.”

Eventually, the young go-getter traveled 350 miles from Zwingle, Iowa to Marshall, MO for a school with a Rodeo team, full of teammates just as goal oriented as him.  “I go to Missouri Valley College and compete on the Rodeo team there,” O’Connell detailed his passionate teammates, “Our Rodeo team is just like anybody’s college football team, except it’s not really well known like that, I guess.  So throughout our Rodeo team we all have practice every day with our coach and with going to school and being on a Rodeo team, we surround ourselves with winners everyday.  There’s not a kid on that team that doesn’t want to be the best in the world and doesn’t want to get to the NFR at some point in their careers.”

While 8th place world wide sounds amazing to most of us, this cowboy isn’t quite done with the lime light.  “In my room I have a board and I put my main goals for the year on that,” explained O’Connell, “Then I stem it out, you make like a tree line off of it for what you have to do to accomplish that goal.  Our coach taught us that and he has everybody on our team do that, so this year I’m going to erase the goal of making it to the NFR and I’m going to put the world title.  At the end of 2015 I want o be the world champion.”

Small town manners and grace have stayed with this humble young rider.  O’Connell radiates an immense passion, pride, and most of all a willingness to encourage others.  “Follow your dreams no matter what you do in life,” O’Connell offered a few last words of advice, “It doesn’t matter how old, how young, how weak, or how strong no matter what you do in life if you truly believe you want something and you have a deep passion for it, then go after it.  Because life’s to short to just sit there and say what if at the end.”


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