Wesley Silcox doesn’t have a typical nine to five job. Instead of sitting in front of a computer or looking over sales reports, Silcox hangs onto a raging one-ton behemoth named Crush Boss who is trying desperately to fling him towards the hard earth. Makes your boss not seem so bad, does it? Silcox, from Santaquin, Utah, is a world champion bull rider and is currently ranked No. 1 by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In his six years as a professional, he has made close to $1 million riding bulls.
Silcox also is a member of the Crown Royal Riders, a group of cowboys who earn money for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to professional rodeo athletes and their families after catastrophic injuries. Silcox took time out of his schedule to talk with Made Man about his job. It should be noted: He is a man of few words.
How did you get into rodeo?
You kind of have to grow up into it. I got an older brother that rode bull and my dad rode bull and I just kind of grew up into it.
What led you to choose bull-riding as your event to specialize in?
I actually got on a few small bulls when I was younger and was kind of good at it and it was pretty easy so I kept doing it.
When was the first time you got on a bull?
I was probably 16 when I got on my first bull.
How do you train for bull riding?
Different guys have different styles. I don’t train very much, just go jogging a little bit, but there are guys who get up at six in the morning and they’ll be in the gym for a couple hours everyday. It’s just kind of whatever you feel comfortable with and whatever you feel like doing.
Where is the best place to compete at?
It’s got to be Las Vegas. That’s the national finals — the best there is and it’s great.
Where is the funnest atmosphere to compete in?
Probably one of the most funnest is Calgary (Alberta), the Calgary Stampede. There’s millions of people. The fans that come in just love the sport and love what those guys are doing up there. And it’s good money for me also.
Do you have an individual rodeo that was your favorite?
Probably Cheyenne, I won Cheyenne this year and to win a rodeo like that is kind of an honor.
Rodeo stars are known to break a bone or two. What is the most serious injury you have suffered during your time as a pro bull rider?
Probably when I broke my jaw and I broke my orbital bone and that kind of put me out for a while. It happened in 2007 and knocked me out (of competitions) for a while.
Do you have any super-fans who follow you around?
Not really, probably just my family. They follow me around and they are the biggest fans that I have.
No “buckle bunnies” following the rodeos around?
There are probably a few of those around. (Laughs.) But it’s a little different nowadays then it used to be back in the day. We kind of take it a little bit more serious because it’s our career and the amount of money that’s out there.
How much money do you make as a pro bull rider?
I make a lot through competition and also sponsors. Crown Royal sponsors me. The Crown Royal Riders, there are six of us, that they kind of help us out through the year. Without them we wouldn’t get down the road like we do. It costs a lot to travel 100,000 miles a year, probably 50-60 thousand dollars in expenses throughout the year.
When you are traveling on tour how do you get from rodeo to rodeo? What do you do for fun on the road?
We have a truck and we have a little camper on the back of our truck that we stay in. We drive all night, 15-16 hour drives and then have the rodeo the next day. We fly a little bit.
What have you bought with your earnings? What is the coolest thing you have bought?
I bought a house, cars and I’ve made a little bit of money in my career and it’s been awesome to do what I love and make a little money to buy these things.
Why is being a professional bull rider a dream job?
We hang out with our buddies, compete with our buddies all day, they are pretty much our family. We just get to do what we want, travel around and see lots of different places and people.