FORT WORTH, Texas ― Whether its sports or life, it's easy to question the decisions of others after the fact.
And a lot of people have voiced their opinions of what Shane Proctor should have done this summer - more Touring Pro Division events - compared to the decision he made to carry a full schedule of rodeos.
However, if there's one common trait among bull riders it's a dislike for being told what to do.
"It kind of goes with the sport," said Proctor. "When people think you should do something, bull riders kind of tend to do the opposite. That's why we ride bulls. Somebody said we couldn't do it and we decided we could."
Proctor spent the summer riding bulls.
He just didn't compete at as many TPD events as some thought he should have if he wants to have the best opportunity to win a PBR world title. While he was going to rodeos, Silvano Alves extended his lead.
Proctor, who spent a total of nine weeks in the No. 1 position in the PBR world standings, slipped from third to sixth during the break. More importantly, he went from 1,358.29 points behind the two-time reigning World Champion to trailing by 2,380.50 points. Over the past two weeks, he has slipped two more spots in the standings and is currently 2,970.50 points off the lead pace.
Proctor isn't about to second-guess himself.
"In my life I want to be known as a cowboy ― pure and simple ― and it doesn't matter what it is," Proctor said. "I don't want to be known as just a bull rider. I want to be known as a cowboy, so I chose to go and try to make the NFR again. I'm pretty sure I've got it made again, so it was a successful summer."
He may not have ridden at as many TPD events as some would have thought he would, but he was still working hard and traveled a lot of miles. According to Proctor, that's just part of what bull riders and rodeo athletes do-travel and get on a lot of rough stock.
In addition to bulls, he also competed in saddle bronc riding.
Proctor was hoping to make it to the National Finals Rodeo in a second discipline and have a chance at the all-around title.
He's currently ranked sixth in bull riding and with the end of the PRCA season fast approaching, appears to be set in the bull riding. Proctor's still well outside of the Top 50 in the saddle bronc riding, but his combined earnings of $85,384 puts him fourth in the all-around standings.
Shane Proctor rides Next Big Thing for 84.25 during the first round of the Nashville Built Ford Tough Series. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.
However, there's no chance of him seriously contending for the all-around title without competing in at least two events at the NFR.
That said, Proctor insists it was a successful summer.
His goal all along was to make both the World Finals and the NFR along with winning bull riding titles at both.
"That would be my ultimate goal," he said, "and that's what we're striving for."
Proctor wasn't able to enter nearly as many saddle bronc events as he was bull riding events and is not sure how he'll end this year, but said he's set up for next season when he'll have an easier time of getting entered in bigger rodeos.
As for the PBR standings, he's still confident.
A few weeks ago, on "Western Sports Round Up," he told RURAL RADIO host Flint Rasmussen that he rode the leaders down once before and "I'll do it again."
There are only seven Built Ford Tough Series events remaining along with the World Finals.
Asked if he was confident in his chances, Proctor said, "I guarantee."
Proctor cited J.B. Mauney making up roughly 800 points in Tulsa, Okla., and then explained that he was unranked at the start of the season, missed the first two BFTS events, caught the leaders and passed them in a month and a half to take the lead ― where he stayed for nine weeks.
He called the race a dogfight and, regarding his naysayers, he said, "I don't give a crap what they said."
His only focus is on catching the leaders.
According to Proctor, he still has six or seven rodeos and the rest of his regular-season schedule will be PBR events. He added he feels healthy in spite of some injury issues that include a broken left wrist. He broke the navicular bone in the wrist of his freehand.
"My goal is to beat them one way or another," said Proctor. "I don't care how I do it."
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