RODEO: Odessa native Hogg back to bull riding
Jan 13, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
They were the best 2.9 seconds of Shawn Hogg's rodeo career.
The next five seconds, though, brought on a scary case of deja vu for the Gardendale bull rider.
Sitting aboard "No. 2" from the Beutler and Son Rodeo Company, Hogg was in perfect position when the bull left the chute Saturday during the sixth and final performance of the 80th SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo at Ector County Coliseum.
The first move to the left had Hogg in tune with the animal. It was the second move, however, that did in the former Odessa College cowboy.
With a strong drop of its shoulders, the bull unseated Hogg and tossed him forward to the ground.
Enter bullfighter Andy Burelle.
As the bull took a swing with its head and grazed Hogg's helmet with a horn, Burelle jumped between the bull and the downed rider, distracting No. 2 long enough for Hogg to get to his feet and up the chute fencing to safety.
"They don't pay them enough," Hogg said. "I was a little bit dazed from hitting the ground and the bull grazed me a little and then next thing I saw was Andy Burelle jumping between us.
"But just being able to get on the bull tonight was great and it showed me just how much I have to work on to get back to where I want to be."
Where Hogg wants to be is Las Vegas for the annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Hogg made the top 15 in 2010 to punch his first ticket to the NFR.
He was well on his way to a return trip in 2011 when he broke his leg late in the season and ended up finish 21st.
Healthy again at the beginning of 2012, Hogg was looking for a great start when he climbed aboard Eugene for a ride at his home rodeo. Moments later, everyone feared for Hogg's well being.
Tossed into the chute fencing as he was thrown from the bull's back, he was then stepped on, with the force of the blow cracking his helmet, breaking his left shoulder blade and tearing some muscles in his neck.
Hogg tried to come back and ride in Pecos during the summer but he wasn't in shape. He said he probably rode a total of six bulls in 2012 and he was sore each time he got off the animals.
"I really have a lot of work to do to get back in bull riding shape," Hogg said. "I took the last four months off last year and just did work around the ranch and other jobs until I was able to get healthy."
One of the reasons Hogg was able to take the time off to get healthy was the continued backing of one of his sponsors.
As Hogg was laying in the Justin Sportsmedicine room being checked and then later at the hospital, Clayton Kennedy of Midland sought out Amber Hogg and presented her with the entire year's sponsorship.
Hogg still is overwhelmed about the act of generosity.
"Even though he knew I wasn't going to be competing for maybe the rest of the year, he still came through with his sponsorship," Hogg said. "It was a real blessing for us and helped ease a lot of pressure."
Now, the only pressure Hogg feels now is to get back to Las Vegas -- and capture his first world championship.
He'll be back in the chutes in Fort Worth in both the Extreme Bulls and the rodeo. From there, it's just a matter of getting on enough bulls to not only get back in shape, but grow his bankroll enough to book a room in Las Vegas.
"I can't wait," Hogg said. "It wasn't the greatest start for me, but it was a start.
"I realized when I was away from the sport last year that I still have the passion to get on bulls and I want to be the best in the world. I'm excited about this season."
Contact Lee Scheide on twitter @OALeeScheide, on Facebook at OA Lee Scheide, or call 432-333-7703.
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