The Last Cowboy Standing reminded Ty Murray of the old saying, “That’s why they play the game.”
Prior to the weekend, he specifically had thought about riders like Luke Snyder – not because Snyder was a favorite to win, but because he wondered what a rider like Snyder, who has struggled near the cut line for much of the season, thought about going up against a rider like Valdiron de Oliveira, whose riding average is nearing 80 percent.
But the 28-year-old Snyder turned out to be the only rider to go 3-for-3 at Mandalay Bay Event Center.
“It was unbelievable to see Luke Snyder just come out of nowhere and dominate,” said Murray in his weekly Podcast. “He made three fantastic rides on three really good bulls, and I think it surprised a lot of people.”
Murray said the format of Last Cowboy Standing proved to be exciting, and helped to break up the grind of a 10-month-long season. He hopes there will be other special events like it.
“It’s still about the essence of this sport,” he said of the format. “Guts and determination and being tougher than the next guy.”
Murray said that to a professional athlete, a sport can become a job, and it’s important to remember the love of the game. He thought the Iron Cowboy did that back in February, and the Last Cowboy Standing did it again this weekend – it reminded the riders of why they compete in the first place.
For Snyder, it took the him back to his rookie year, when he won the 2001 PBR World Finals event title.
“He was the hottest thing,” recalled Murray, “and then he’s had a career of ups and downs, and – if you’re going to be honest and frank – it’s been a lot of downs.”
Still, he has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments.
In addition to winning the Finals event, he was named the 2001 PBR Rookie of the Year. He’s earned in excess of $1 million, competed in a record 275 consecutive BFTS events, and just this weekend became the third rider in PBR history to compete in 300 BFTS events total.
But in becoming the Last Cowboy Standing, Snyder showed the world what he’s capable of.
“That wasn’t luck, that wasn’t because he drew just right or things just happened to fall into place,” explained Murray. “He went out there and he went at those bulls, and he was aggressive and he was expecting to ride them.
“He was making the moves that it takes, and it wasn’t like he just had a perfect seat the whole way … He took charge of it and he looked like a fantastic bull rider this weekend, and it paid off pretty well.”
Murray’s entire conversation can be heard here.
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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