The book on Luke


  • Snyder is having a career year

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Luke Snyder is having a career year.

After narrowly missing the cut twice in the first 10 Built Ford Tough Series events, the Missouri native is closing in on his first Top 10 season since 2001. Coming into this weekend’s event, he’s within 100 points.

It’s been a road of ups and downs.

Luke Snyder’s been to 23 of 24 events from one coast to the other. He’s not only ridden in his home country, but also spent a month riding in Australia during the summer break from the BFTS.

For the first two events of the year, he failed to make the whistle, then 13 events later won $217,500 when he became the Last Cowboy Standing at a special pay-per-view event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

A week from now he’ll finally have a chance to go home to Missouri for a three-day event in Springfield.

Bass Pro Shops and PFI Western Wear have teamed up with him to promote a social media contest they’ve dubbed “The Last Fan Standing”.

“It’s kind of like a big scavenger hunt,” said Snyder.

Snyder’s likeness has been printed on well over 3 million Orange Crush cans that have been distributed throughout Missouri and surrounding states, and life-sized cutouts of the Titanium Tough cowboy have been set up in grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and a few fast-food restaurants.

All fans have to do is submit a photo of themselves with the display here and one will be chosen to win a $500 shopping spree at Bass Pro Shops and a personal meeting with Snyder. The contest runs through Monday.

“It shouldn’t be too hard to find,” said Snyder, who likened being on a soda can to appearing on a Wheaties box, “so, yeah, bring your camera along if you have to go to the supermarket.”

Snyder’s turnaround has been largely due to working out and taking part in yoga.

His riding percentage is as high as it’s been since 2008, and he’s only 11 qualified rides shy of matching his career-best 35 from that same year. He’s already tied career-best marks for Top 10 and Top 5 finishes in a single season, with eight and four, respectively.

“The key is keeping it there,” he said of his newfound confidence. “When you’re getting on these bulls and your confidence level is at the highest it can be, the rest will take care of itself.

“I’ve always had that 5-minute rule. They’re going to get you on the ground every now and then. You’re definitely going to be upset with yourself, but then you’re looking on to the next one about five minutes later.”

In the meantime, he’s been looking at photos of fans and tweeting back and forth with others.

Snyder, who was initially apprehensive about getting involved with Facebook and Twitter, has been using social media for the past year, and said it’s more than a marketing tool for bull riders.

“It’s a great way to connect with fans,” said Snyder, who was instrumental in recently getting Colby Yates on board with Twitter.

“These fans deserve a chance to get with us on more of a personal level.”

— by Keith Ryan Cartwright

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