May 2, 2014 Updated: May 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm
Guytin Tsosie remains surprised he got the chance. To his credit, he made the most of it.
Tsosie is awestruck by the idea that he is on the Professional Bull Riders tour.
The Navajo tribe member from New Mexico won the 2013 International Indian Finals Rodeo. That garnered him a spot in the 2014 Ty Murray Invitational, whose founder requires a berth for an American Indian each year.
He rode two of his four bulls at that PBR event and attracted the attention of the Pueblo-based organization's officials.
"I guess I did pretty well," said Tsosie, 22. "I was surprised. So are my friends. Some of them beat me and now they see me riding in the PBR. I never expected to be here."
The PBR offered him a provisional spot in the next three events and a chance to stick with the tour if he did well enough.
The nerves got to him at first. The other cowboys took him aside and assured him he had the skill needed to stay on the tour. He hasn't finished lower than seventh since.
He rode seven of 16 bulls (43.75 percent) over the past four stops, earning a full-time spot on tour by winning $28,432; good for 31st in the world standings entering this weekend. The top 35 bull riders in the world, which now includes Tsiosie, compete each weekend. This week's tour stop is at The Broadmoor World Arena with competition continuing Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
There was a considerable leap in competition from the Indian circuit to PBR. Tsosie is the first to make the transition after receiving an invite to Murray's Albuquerque event.
"The audience, the bulls, everything is bigger and better," he said.
He credits his quick reaction time to his late older brother Nelson.
"Everything I have done is in memory of him," he said. "I learned everything I know from him."
Tsosie, who has ridden bulls since age 16 and steers since 9, is most comfortable astride livestock; not with the attention his story garners at each tour stop.
"It's actually much scarier talking to the media," the fan favorite said.
He is pleased for the chance to compete around the country. He never expected to ever go to Boise, Idaho.
He now has his sights on Las Vegas where the world finals are Oct. 22-26. After nearly a full season on the tour, he may no longer be shy.
"If I get to the finals, I won't be surprised anymore," he said, before grinning. "Maybe."