FORT WORTH, Texas - Long before Wiley Petersen announced his retirement earlier this year, he was questioning his own future - and the answer he found could prove to be beneficial to young, would-be and soon-to-be professional bull riders.
Petersen and Dustin Elliott have launched www.bullridercoach.com.
In an interview this past weekend in Nashville, Tenn., Petersen said he wants to stay involved with the sport and, as the sport of bull riding continues to evolve, he's seen a need for coaching. He had worked as an instructor at two or three bull riding clinics every year, so he saw this new project as a natural extension of his own career.
Petersen was a 12-year veteran of the Built Ford Tough Series, and in 2007 was the World Finals event winner.
According to Petersen, shortly after his announcement, he received a phone call from Elliott asking what his future plans entailed. Petersen told him he hoped to go into coaching and training bull riders. That led to a longer conversation in which Petersen said the two saw the future of the sport "in the same way."
"He was thinking about the same stuff," Petersen said. "We were both kind of in sync."
Petersen added, "Right now we're just in the ground stages of this deal and trying to put together a workbook."
In addition to launching their new site and marketing through Facebook and Twitter, Petersen said they're also busy putting together materials for mailings and to pass out at future clinics.
In October, they are planning to have a booth in the Fan Zone at the World Finals.
Petersen explained they're working to design something that "is not just a typical bull-riding clinic." In addition to training and teaching the basic fundamentals of bull riding, the idea is to also offer guidance regarding the "business side" of the sport - how deal with sponsors, media and financial matters.
Essentially it's about teaching students how to "conduct themselves as professional athletes."
"That's what we're working on right now;" said Petersen, who
hopes to have everything in place by the end of the year, "putting
together a whole package - a whole system so we can get guys the
right information and train them."
Petersen said the key is not to simply teach participants one time and send them off on their own, but to develop an ongoing relationship. He said it made sense to combine resources with Elliott, who is a former PRCA world champion. Elliott qualified for the World Finals five times, while Petersen has done so 10 times.
"Hopefully we can get guys to understand the value of having a coach and a trainer and give you pointers and help you in your career." -- Wiley Petersen
The two men see junior riders and high-school competitors as their target audience.
"Just because there are more of them," Petersen said.
He went on to explain, "We want to be available to every guy and hopefully we can get guys to understand the value of having a coach and a trainer and give you pointers and help you in your career. Eventually I'd like to have a facility where we can have a classroom and bull-riding arena - all of it together."
In addition to regional clinics throughout the country, Petersen and Elliott intend to use technology to provide instruction via their website.
Petersen said their initial idea will evolve as they continue to get feedback. "It's a process," he said, "but I think it's needed."
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