Woodward has big bull riding dreams

Jestyn Woodward is an 18-year-old bull rider from Custer who is competing on a large scale.
Woodward recently (Aug. 6) placed first, earning $2,428 and 87 points, at an Ashley, N.D., rodeo riding Mosbrucker’s bull House Cat.     
Woodward qualifies for a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) card as he has won more than the required $1,200.
Yet, Woodward has chosen to remain on his bull-riding permit as an avid competitor, preparing until he feels “at a level to get to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo),” Woodward said.  
This August, Woodward rode bulls in eight other rodeos and placed fourth, fifth and sixth place in Douglas County, Dodge City and Mitchell, Neb. rodeos, respectively.
Woodward still lives in Custer but is rarely here because he’s traveling to compete in arenas from Texas to North Dakota.
Woodward said he has “driven almost 63,000 miles since February” in his converted-rooftop car.
Yet, Woodward said the local Black Hills Roundup, in Belle Fourche July 3 was his favorite rodeo so far.
That night, Woodward earned second place (82 points) and $5,386 on the back of Wolf Trap, a bull with a 67 percent buck-off average.
Riding bulls since about age 10, Woodward said his dad, Jacey, taught him “pretty much everything he knows.” Jacey Woodward rode professionally and won nationals as a high schooler.
Jestyn Woodward said he has wanted to pursue a career in bull riding for as long as he can remember.
“When I was little, my dad, grandpa and I would watch rodeos. I’d see pictures of them riding bulls, too, and it just made me want to start,” Woodward said.
When asked about the mentality a bull rider needs, Woodward credited how wrestling in school taught him to have a good attitude, and “it made me mentally tough,” he said.
“When I do go through a streak where I get bucked off a bull a bunch, it doesn’t really bother me because I have a tougher mindset now,” Woodward said.
Woodward acknowledges the ups and downs of his difficult sport in noting the multiple bones he has broken so far in his career, and the torn shoulder he is still nursing from weeks ago.
Yet if thrown, Woodward is simply on his feet again and said the “only way to heal is time.”
Also on Woodward’s mind is his long-term future. He dreams of one day riding in the NFR and becoming a world champion.
Then after he retires from bull riding, Woodward said he wants to “be a stock contractor and have my own set of bulls that I haul around,” he said.
Additionally, Woodward wants to someday have a bull riding school where kids can learn and develop the sport’s required skills.
Until then, Woodward is making a career of his bull riding and his next steps are a continued function of his hard work.
Currently, Woodward’s main goal is to win the Badlands Circuit at the North Dakota State Fair this fall.
Woodward is on track to do just that, and you can find him on the back of a bull there Oct. 14-16.

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