Saturday, February 11, 2006

Travis Briscoe Article

Edgewood Bull Rider Is Making a Name for Himself Albuquerque JournalBy Harold SmithMountain View Telegraph Edgewood bull-rider Travis Briscoe has come a long way since his second-place finish at the Chilili Rodeo on June 26. Standing just outside the rustic, oval-shaped corral that constitutes the land grant's arena, the 18-year-old was quietly confident last summer. "I may not go to school," the 5-foot-7, 130-pound cowboy said when asked what school he would attend in the fall. "I want to go into the PBR (Professional Bull Riders)." Yeah, sure, Travis. That's like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James playing in the NBA before they graduated from high school. But that's just what Briscoe has done. And he's good at it. In the seven months since his Chilili performance, the former Moriarty High student, now a home-schooled prep senior, has won two of PBR's premier Built Ford Tough Series 2005-06 events, including the Southern Ford Dealers Invitational last weekend in Jacksonville, Fla. "I rode a bull called Scar (in Jacksonville)," said Briscoe, who was back in New Mexico between events on Tuesday. "He made his debut in Tampa, (Fla., on Friday), and then he got to go to the short-round in Jacksonville. He's just a black, bald-faced bull." Briscoe also was the top rider in Fresno, Calif., on Jan. 20. He placed second in Oklahoma City on Jan. 29. "I was sure I could do it," Briscoe said. "I expected it, but I didn't know how soon." This season, Briscoe has earned $100,648.25 as of Sunday. His career accumulation stands at $158,755.70. "I'm probably going to buy some land, get some bucking bulls, but right now it's kind of sitting there, just waiting for a rainy day," he said. "My everyday life didn't change. I'm still an average Joe. I just do it on the weekends. I have all the same friends." Briscoe was ranked No. 2 in the BFTS points standings last week but dropped to fourth this week despite the victory in Jacksonville. He failed to score in Tampa. "I just got throwed off," he said. Briscoe has 3,154 points. Brazilians Guilherme Marchi and Adriano Moraes are in first and second, respectively, with 3,268 and 3,228 points. Oklahoma's Jody Newberry is third at 3,198. Briscoe's father, George, never had any doubts that his son could cut the PBR mustard. "I knew he was going to do well," said George, who at age 45 still competes in saddle-bronc riding. "Even before he went into the PBR, I told everyone he was going to be a world champion. It might take him two to three years, but he will be a world champion— if he can stay healthy and strong." Bull riding is renowned for its inherent danger. And rightfully so. Glen Keeley, a Canadian rider, died from injuries received at the PBR's Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque in March 2000. "I am a little beat up, my hip and my groin," Briscoe acknowledged. "But other than that, I'm as good as I ever was." Briscoe's mother, Debbie Fincher, said she was a little concerned when her son started riding sheep at age 2 and later moved on to calves. "I still worry, but this is what he wants to do, and he's doing it," she said. "I knew he could do it. I knew he had the drive. It's just that the wins and his quick start, it's all happening so fast. He just took off. It's that at 18 years old, I didn't expect it so soon." Briscoe also has two sisters. Codi Briscoe, 22, resides in Albuquerque. Six-year-old Halee Fincher lives with her mother. "Travis is (Halee's) big brother," Debbie Fincher said. "Now, she wants to be a professional barrel racer." Still, what are the qualities that have rocketed this cowboy to stardom? "He's built for it," said Briscoe's father. "He's real aggressive. What bull riders call it is he's real sticky. He loves it." For Briscoe, the keys to his success are simple. "I don't drink," he said. "And I let God do it all." New Mexico— so far— has produced two PBR world champions, Michael Gaffney and Owen Washburn. Barring injuries, Briscoe said he's looking forward to competing in the Ty Murray at Tingley Coliseum from March 31 through April 2. But there are eight events between now and then, including the Anaheim (Calif.) Classic on Friday and Saturday. "It's an exciting life," Briscoe said. "How could you do any better? You're doing what you love, and you get hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it."

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