If Mike White isn't at a PBR event, there's
likely one place you'll find him: horseback, working on his ranch
outside DeKalb, Texas.
That's where he was last Tuesday when he got a phone call he
White was told that he and Ross Coleman would
be the 35th and 36th former riders to be inducted into the PBR Ring
"I texted my wife and told her," White recalled, "and she was
more excited at the moment than I was. It really didn't sink in
until probably the next day. I said, 'This is huge. This is really
"This is sweet to have this honor."
White said he never thought of himself as one of the all-time
great bull riders.
"To be put in that category with the elite bull riders in the
world - when you've got so many of them that (have) accomplished so
much in their career - to me, to get the Ring of Honor before some
of these other guys have that opportunity is astronomical."
In 1999, he was a PRCA World Champion the same year he was named
the PBR Rookie of the Year.
"This is sweet to have this honor."
During a PBR career that spanned 12 years, he qualified for the
World Finals eight times and won 12 events. He recorded 67 Top 10
event finishes, 42 of which he placed in the Top 5, and earned in
excess of $1.4 million in the PBR.
In 2002, he finished fourth in the PBR world standings, and a
year later, in 2003, he has ranked third in the world.
Last weekend, in Guthrie, Okla., White was asked to reflect on
his upcoming induction.
Rather than talk about himself, he talked more about the riders
who came before him.
"Hats off to the 20 guys who started what they started," he
said. "Without those 20 guys starting the PBR, where would we be
today? We wouldn't be riding for $100,000 at an event. I never
thought the day would come that I would win one event and win
$80,000. For some people, that's two years' salary and I made it in
one night riding two bulls."
The impact White made went beyond the arena.
He was in the prime of his career during a period of time in
which the PBR experienced unprecedented growth, and White actively
participated in the publicity campaign that helped bring the sport
closer to the forefront of mainstream media.
Not only did he represent the PBR with class and dignity, but
the 35-year-old also understood that he and others had a
responsibility to continue building the foundation of the
organization for generations to come.
"I've talked to Ty (Murray) about it," White explained, "and he
said we're always building something. We may not benefit from it,
but these younger generations are going to benefit from it. It's
something that all comes back to us. It's something that we've
helped build for kids to make a great living getting to do what
they love to do.
"Outside of the arena, I've always had a big idol, and it was
Michael Gaffney and the type of person he was in
life - not only in the arena, but outside of the arena. You
couldn't ask for a better, nicer guy in the world."
Like Gaffney, White made time for the media, fans and, more
notably, raising money for kids.
He has been involved with both Western Wishes and St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital. He plays host to two events every
year - an annual pasture roping in the spring and a Touring Pro
Division event in the summer - which raise money for charity.
The Mike White Invitational is this Friday and Saturday in Lake
In addition, to playing host to the two events, White has been
raising bucking bulls since before retiring from competition during
the 2010 season. He's been hauling bulls to ABBI events and PBR
events for the past two years.
"Roping and working bulls - that's my life," White said. "That's
all I know, and that's every day of my life.
"I've been blessed throughout my career. I've had so much come
to me throughout my riding career and after my riding career - by
no means am I rich. I'm rich in life."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.