What a Wild Ride It Has Been | Outside Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Outside » Outside Features

What a Wild Ride It Has Been

Local rider conquers the world



"All goals start out as dreams, I suppose," explains Bobby Mote, a professional rodeo rider. "If I'd told people when I started that I wanted to be where I am now, they might've laughed at me."

And where he is, a cowboy from the small Central Oregon town of Culver, is an impressive four-time World Champion in bareback riding. This weekend he will compete as a (close to) hometown favorite at the 74th annual Sisters Rodeo.

It has been a long ride. The first time that Mote, still in high school, came to the Sisters Rodeo was with his first rodeo mentor, John Hammack, a Sisters native and bareback champion at rodeos from Central Oregon to Madison Square Garden in New York City.

"It was so big and exciting and awesome," he recalls. He says he remembers falling instantly in love with the glory and spectacle of it all. "All I knew at the time was that I wanted to be a part of it."

And soon he was: At the age of 15, in 1997, Mote started riding bareback horses. Not so unlike other bored young kids from rural areas, his dreams began to take root while just mucking around; in his case, heading out with friends after school and jumping on the bulls and horses provided by Dale Landrus on his ranch in Powell Butte. "I don't think it's so weird to want to try stuff as a young kid. I was still figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be," says Mote. "At the time it was just fun and something to do, but the more I did it, the more it turned into something more. I always wanted to be a cowboy, to be my own boss and get to travel around the country."

Over the past quarter-century, Mote has done just that, turning one of the most dangerous and unpredictable events in rodeo into a solid career. Unlike other rodeo events where the rider has control over the horse's speed and direction, bareback riders are fighting just to stay on the horse; much like bull-riding, trying to hold on for a regulation ride. "Even a perfectly scoring 8-second ride leaves you a little battered and beaten," Mote admits, ticking off a litany of injuries including a broken shoulder, a broken arm, a broken leg and a broken vertebra.

But injuries have yet to deter Mote; it is just part of the process, he says, just part of the risk you have to be willing to take when doing what you love.

Although Mote has competed at the Sisters Rodeo for many years, this time will be distinct for him. Last summer, his first mentor, Hammack—the man who first took him to the Sisters Rodeo—died in a tree falling accident during a wildfire last summer. Mote says his mentor will definitely be in his thoughts as he is getting in the bucking chute this Friday, June 13. Hammack will also be honored at the rodeo with a bareback riding buckle in his name as a permanent memorial.

About The Author

Lucille Ausman

Lucille Ausman is a (more-or-less) native Central Oregon currently interning at the Source while on break from Smith College, where she Smith's student newspaper The Sophian and works as an undergraduate research assistant for the Anthropology department as a STRIDE Scholar. Just like every other girl of her generation...

Add a comment

More by Lucille Ausman

Latest in Outside Features