Eugene, Ore. -- "There's really nothing else like it," Kyle Bounds tries to explain. "I mean, not a lot of people can just run their hand in a rigging and get on a bucking horse and get some money out of it. It's hard to explain there's nothing else that gives you that feeling."
It's a feeling the Harrisburg native didn't think he'd ever have. His rodeo journey started later than most and with a local legend.
"I started working for Wayne White, the rodeo announcer, and became really good friends with his grandson and his son-in-law Phil," recalls Bounds.
"He had one of them big round earrings, you know, that's kind of a plug type deal and his pants were slung low," jokes White. "He kinda grinned one day and said I'd like to be a cowboy. So we told him he had to get rid of the earrings. He had to pull up his pants and we got him a pair of wranglers and we didn't think he was serious."
From there, Bounds found riding bucking horses came naturally, even as the pressure mounted.
"When I first started I was a little bit nervous first couple times until it actually clicked to where I knew what I was doing," Bounds says. "Then I became more nervous because I don't wanna get on that horse and not get any money out of it so I have to do my best every time."
Pressure that both increases and subsides when he comes home to the Eugene Pro Rodeo.
He knows so many people," says White admiringly. "And Kyle he doesn't have a real job. This is his job. He's been a two time Northwest Professional Rodeo Association bareback riding champion. He could do it four or five times."
For Kyle, this is home.
"One of the funnest rodeos I go to every year because I know so many people and it's just fun to come here and show them what I can do and how far I've come in the last couple years of bareback riding."
And Wayne hopes Kyle will be a part of the local rodeo community for awhile.
"No doubt in my mind," White says. "He'll go on. He'll probably work with my son-in-law for a long long time putting on wild west events."
No matter where the rodeo roads take Kyle Bounds they will always lead back to one place here in Eugene.
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