<
>

It's all fun

1/26/2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A few moments after bucking off his reride bull in the Professional Bull Riders' Sacramento Classic — only the second bull he's bucked off of all season — Kody Lostroh used the "F" word.

Fun.

"That reride, it was embarrassing, and all you can do is laugh about that," said the 23-year-old from Longmont, Colo. "That's a bull I should have been able to ride in my tennis shoes. It was still fun."

Fun, you see, is the reason Lostroh, a fifth-year pro and former PBR Rookie of the Year, rides at all.

"I don't really care about the points or the money," he said. "I ride bulls because it's fun. It's what I love to do."

That is why during the break between the PBR World Finals in November and the start of the new season on the Built Ford Tough series in January, Lostroh was as antsy as a kid on Christmas Eve.

He has used that pent-up energy to his advantage early in this season on the Built Ford Tough Series. He's ridden eight of his 10 bulls, finishing second in Baltimore, seventh in New York City and first in Fresno, Calif.

He has been in the lead in the BFTS point standings and has also earned a season-high $105,727 this season.

But Lostroh didn't know any of those figures until someone told him.

"Winning feels good, but to me, it's funner just to be able to ride," he said. "I don't care if it's a practice bull at the house or one of these. I just want to ride. I didn't want the season to end. I just wanted to keep going."

It's a philosophy that has served Lostroh well since he burst onto the PBR scene in 2005 and claimed rookie of the year honors.

He finished 15th in the final world standings that year and followed that with a fifth-place finish in 2006, sixth place in 2007 and fifth place in 2008.

Last year was an especially good season for Lostroh as he rode a career-best 58 percent of his bulls and earned a career-best $298,852, winning one event, posting eight top-5 finishes and 16 top-10 finishes.

At the PBR World Finals, he rode three of his seven bulls and won $11,000, a disappointment after winning more than $120,000 at the finals each of the two previous seasons.

"Last season, I didn't have the finals that I wanted, but overall it was great," he said. "I was just having fun, not worrying about the standings and just riding bulls."

Riding bulls has certainly been his focus so far this season.

He rode all three in the season-opening BFTS event in Baltimore and finished second; rode his next three in New York City before bucking off Deja Blu in the championship round for a seventh-place finish.

He then rode both his bulls in Fresno — including a 94.5 on Julio Moreno's great bull Troubadour in the championship round — for his first event win of the year and prize money of $60,960 after bonuses.

He selected Troubadour, the reserve world champion bucking bull in 2008, for the ride by having the first pick in the draft for the short round.

"It always feels great to win, but being able to get on great bulls like Troubadour and win feels even better. Troubadour is the best bull going and I would pick him every time. I guess when I knew it was going to be good was when the whistle blew and I was not on my head."

Lostroh kept his hot streak intact during Round 1 in Sacramento, covering the bull Crabman for 80.25 points. His second-round bull, Mikel's Kat, didn't have a good out and Lostroh gave up the 75.75 point score, which would have been enough to get him into the championship round. He didn't hesitate to take the reride on Thumper, but bucked off at 6.3 seconds and didn't make the short round.

Still, Lostroh was smiling after the ride and already looking ahead to his next bull in Dallas.

"I just want to keep getting on bulls and riding bulls," he said. "That's fun."

There he is, using that "F" word again.