Longmont cowboy Kody Lostroh has reasons big and small to be happy to be back in Colorado.
The 2009 Professional Bull Riders world champion is working his way back into winning form after an injury derailed the first half of the 2014 season, which continues Friday through Sunday with the Rumble in the Rockies at the Broadmoor World Arena.
Lostroh injured his riding hand - the one used to hold on to the bull - in January and missed the next eight weeks. Now, he is ignoring the lingering pain and hopes to complete more 8-second rides before the Pueblo-based organization's summer break.
In only his seventh event last weekend, he won $4,650 to up his season winnings to $11,558 and 40th in the points standings.
"It keeps getting better," he said. "You reach a point where you just have to ignore it and get used to competing with the pain."
He also has two small reasons to keep that injury in perspective.
His wife Candace gave birth to daughter Odessa about two weeks ago. The Lostrohs, including daughter Sheridan, live on a ranch where they raise bulls.
"I won't be a bull rider forever but I will always be a father," he said. "Winning the 2009 title was special but it's nothing compared to having a daughter."
Lostroh was not born into bull riding. His farming parents put him in a steer riding event as a youngster, which led to a Little Britches national bull riding title in 2003, three consecutive Colorado State High School Rodeo Association titles and the PBR Rookie of the Year award in 2005. The 29-year-old ranks eighth in all-time career earnings with $3.17 million.
This is the sixth time the PBR has competed in Colorado Springs and first since 2005. Three-time world champ Adriano Moraes won four of its five appearances (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005).
"It's great to be back in Colorado competing," Lostroh said.
Others expected to ride include reigning world champion J.B. Mauney, who Lostroh edged by 594 points in the closest race ever for a world title, and fellow world champs Silvano Alves (2011, 2012), Renato Nunes (2010), current season standings leader Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Up-and-comers Tanner Byrne, Gage Gay and Jory Markiss are scheduled to compete as well.
All 35 riders will attempt one ride Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After Sunday's Round 3, the scores from the three rides will be compiled. The top 15 return for a championship round. The rider with the highest score after all four rides wins at least $30,000 of the $140,000 purse.
After Saturday's Round 2, the 15/15 Bucking Battle will be held. It pairs the top 15-ranked riders against the top 15 bulls for one ride apiece and a share of $21,000. Those results are separate from the Rumble in the Rockies championship. One bull will carry an additional $25,000 bonus for a successful ride.