FORT WORTH, Texas - Pistol Robinson doesn't need to be reminded of the horrific wreck he was involved in last January.
If missing the entire 2012 season isn't enough of a reminder, there's the grueling 11 months-worth of recovery and rehabilitation he's undergone since having both broken legs surgically repaired.
He's also looked at photos and viewed video of the night Carrillo Cartel bucked him off and stepped on his defenseless lower body multiple times in Round 3 of the Madison Square Garden Invitational. He can identify the precise moment in which he broke his right femur and point out the exact second in which he broke his left fibula and tibia.
Exactly two weeks after receiving the best news he's gotten since that fateful January night ― he's been visiting Dr. Tandy Freeman every six weeks and on Nov. 26 he was medically cleared to resume full preparation for his 2013 comeback ― the 27-year-old from Burleson, Texas, and his longtime girlfriend Kelsey Tucker are returning to New York for the first time since the accident.
Robinson will fly out today and participate in pre-event publicity for the upcoming Monster Energy Invitational.
He said about the same time Dr. Freeman told him the bones in both legs were healed, he was asked by the PBR if he was interested in making the trip to meet with various New York media outlets. Robinson agreed, because he thought it would be good for them and, more importantly, the sport of bull riding, to revisit the footage and, at the same time, see that 11 months later he's doing just fine.
"It was really good news," he said of his most recent doctor's appointment. "I expected it to be coming, but maybe not this soon just going by how it went the previous six weeks; it was good news to hear. Now it's just physically getting in shape."
Of late, Robinson has been staying with Tucker near Wichita Falls, Texas.
After spending the summer doing cross-fit training that included swimming and an unconventional workout regime that involved flipping oversized tractor tires and swinging a sledge hammer, he is now focused on a more traditional workout.
He wakes up just about every day at 5:30 and trains at a local gym.
His latest routine includes leg exercises one day, back and shoulders the next, arms on the third day and cardio and abs every other day. Robinson said it's nothing special, but he put the plan together after having worked out with close friend and fellow bull rider Harve Stewart.
After working out he's been serving as an apprentice under a local taxidermist, and he's been doing a lot of hunting in his free time. Lately, Robinson has been visiting Ross Coleman, who lives 10 miles away, where he's been riding horses bareback just to get acclimated to riding.
I took for granted what I did have and now that I don't have it I have to fight to get it back."
He's looking to get on his first practice bull in another week.
While Robinson hasn't committed to a specific timeline for his return, he doesn't feel as though he's delaying the process either. Although he hasn't entered yet, his first competition is likely to be the Touring Pro Division event in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 28 and 29.
"Once I'm getting on bulls I'm not going to stop," Robinson said. "I'm just going to keep going and entering, but I want to feel right about it."
Robinson is cautiously optimistic about how quickly fans might see him competing on the Built Ford Tough Series. He has five injury exemptions to his credit regardless of where he's ranked in the world standings, but said he wants to make sure he's completely healthy and able to "go with it" once he returns.
As of now, the only pain he feels is from a screw that was inserted in his left knee and even then it only hurts when he does a lot of running or squatting a heavy amount of weight.
"It's hard to sit out a whole year and come back and be on top of your game," he said. "Going into the Built Ford Tough Series you definitely want to be on top of your game."
Although he's both anxious and nervous about resuming his career, Robinson said he's looking forward to getting back on bulls. The past year has been a difficult lesson, but one that was much needed for six-year veteran.
"You're only going to get out what you put in," replied Robinson, when asked what specifically he learned, "so that's why I want to be ready to the best of my physical ability and whenever I go at it I want to continue on that road. I took for granted what I did have and now that I don't have it I have to fight to get it back."
Robinson said there are tough lessons throughout one's personal and professional life, but the key is how you deal with those difficult situations.
During the two months he was bedridden, Robinson admitted to himself there were times prior to his injury when he didn't give 100 percent. He promised himself that when he returned, he would give it his best each and every time out of the chutes.
This week he'll be in New York retelling his entire story. Robinson drew Carrillo Cartel that night and said he would have drafted him as well in that round if he had the opportunity. In fact, he said he'll have no problem drafting him in the future. He described Carrillo Cartel as a good bull and, more importantly, a bull in which you can win the round.
That particular time, he said, he just happened to
come off in the wrong spot at the wrong time and got himself caught
up underneath the bull.
"It's part of the game," he added.
Professional bull riding is the most dangerous game in the world and, according to Robinson, if you're going to risk that much competing, "You better try to win every time."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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