FORT WORTH, Texas - Pat White never rode bulls at a televised
event, and yet his younger brother, Mike, who will be inducted into
the Ring of Honor in October, often jokes that Pat still has a
larger fan base.
According to Mike, his older brother is an especially likeable
guy, easy to get along with, the happiest guy he's ever known and
was also a better bull rider. That's saying a lot, considering Mike
won the PRCA world title in 1999, which was the same year he was
named PBR's Rookie of the Year.
In fact, Mike can recall being at a practice pen on more than
one occasion when Pat would climb into the bucking chute with his
rubber work boots and "could have done everything I ever did -plus.
There's no telling how much he could have won."
According to Mike, his brother didn't want to leave home and
elected to focus on raising a family as well as bucking bulls. As
luck would have it, that choice eventually led to a lifelong
friendship between Mike White and
Chris Shivers, who in his early years would
compete at the open ridings produced by Mike.
"He used to buck bulls around Louisiana and I knew him before I
knew Mike," Shivers recalled.
White added, "I met Chris when he was young."
"Mike was pro rodeoing, at the time, and I don't know," Shivers
continued. "One thing just kind of led to another."
The two became fast friends largely because they had a lot in
common outside of the arena.
Both grew up in Louisiana and were raised around farming and
ranching communities with cattle. They also both enjoy hog hunting
and roping when they weren't riding bulls.
More important, White and Shivers are considered to
be real cowboys.
"We've both run cattle all our lives," White said. "That's just
what we do - we're cowboys. We were raised on ranches."
"That's just what we do - we're cowboys." -- Mike
White and Shivers will go down as one of the great travel pairs
in PBR history.
Shivers agreed and added, "It was a great time in my life,
that's for sure."
They fed off one another and when one was winning the other felt
just as good, but they were equally competitive with one another
out of the arena.
White said everything was a competition.
In fact, they even placed their own side bets at Built Ford
Tough Series events. One bet they had on several occasions was a
spurring contest in which the two would see which could out-spur
"We're very strong competitors," White said. "It doesn't matter
if it's bull riding, roping or a foot race, we try to beat each
other. That's just the way we both are. We don't want to finish
last. We want to finish first and we always drive the other
Shivers can't remember the details of one night other than it
took place in Greensboro, N.C.: He poured some water on White in
the locker room.
Later that same night, while Shivers was talking with Dr. Tandy
Freeman, "Mike poured a whole five-gallon bucket of water over my
head while I was out in the arena - just like stuff like that,
Whenever you saw one of them you were certain to find the other
They didn't let just anyone travel with them.
If one or the other happened to be hurt, which, at times, was
pretty often later in their careers, they kept to themselves at the
According to White, if he didn't know another rider well enough
he'd just as soon stay by himself rather than split the cost with
White retired two years ago, while Shivers has announced that
2012 will be his last season.
"It's not a good feeling when you come out here and you don't
have somebody to travel with," said Shivers, who is a two-time PBR
World Champion and as sure a candidate for the Ring of Honor as any
former bull rider in the PBR.
"You're just kind of stuck out here doing your own thing."
Although a lot of riders partner up to cut down on expenses, it
was different for Shivers and White. It was about enjoying each
other's company and having a good time while they were young and
out on the road
Now they have families - White's son, Logan, thinks of Shivers'
oldest son, Brand, as his best friend - and they don't see each
other nearly as often, but when they do there's a bond that's just
as strong today as it was more than a decade ago.
However, both families will be in Las Vegas for what will likely
be an emotional week.
In addition to Shivers competing for a record 15th and final
time, White and Ross Coleman will become the 35th
and 36th riders inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Shivers, never one to talk about himself, shifted the focus
"He's done a lot for the sport and continues to do a lot for the
sport," he said of his longtime friend. "The PBR isn't just about
riding bulls. You have a lot of fans and people who respect you and
they're really the reason why we get to do what we do. He
contributes to that a lot more than people realize.
"He's the kind of person people should want to be like."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.