DENVER – Brennon Eldred was standing in the locker room inside the National Western Stock Show on Monday night with his right bicep swollen and his shirt ripped apart.
“It is going to be badly bruised,” Eldred said with a shrug. “Shoot, he got me good. My bicep is like double its size.”
Eldred then laughed and tossed some medicine tape to the ground.
The 22-year-old had just ridden Jungle Can Do for 87 points in Round 1 of the Real Time Velocity Tour event in Denver and will be in the running for the event victory when he rides again on Wednesday.
Eldred made huge waves last month when he rode SweetPro’s Bruiser for 94.5 points during Round 9 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
At the time, Bruiser had bucked off 14 riders in a row on the PBR’s illustrious Built Ford Tough Series and was fresh off a 2016 World Champion Bull title.
The obvious question for Eldred was if he could ride Bruiser at the NFR, is he ready to make the jump full time to the PBR after three straight trips to the NFR?
“That is my plan,” Eldred replied. “To go to the PBR. I am still going to rodeo, and I still want to go to the NFR, but I want to win that (PBR) world title. I am at that point in my career where I am trying to take it easy on myself. I am not pushing it. I am going to just go to what rodeos I have to make the Finals. I am going to take it easy there and go primarily to the PBRs and hopefully get on tour.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said during intermission on Monday night he had been impressed with Eldred’s performance at the NFR on Bruiser.
Four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris was giving Eldred a hard time in the locker room in Denver, but said there is no questioning Eldred has the toughness and grit to make the transition to the PBR.
“He really turned a corner this year,” Harris said. “He is for real. He is more old school. He looks at Bruiser and Long John and doesn’t care who they are.”
Eldred finished the NFR 5-for-10 with two 90-point rides.
According to ProBullstats.com, Eldred is a career 39.05-percent bull rider at various rodeos and bull ridings.
Eldred won seven PRCA events, and tied for two more last year, per Prorodeo.com.
This week is Eldred’s second Velocity Tour event of his career. He finished second in Little Rock, Arkansas, last year after competing at a handful of Touring Pro Division events when he first turned 18.
Eldred grew up 10 miles from D&H Cattle Company in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and was getting on H.D. Page’s 2-year-old bovines by the time he was 10 years old. Once he turned 13, he began attempting to ride some of Page’s best stock.
“I have known H.D. and Dillon my whole life,” Eldred said. “That is when I started getting on bulls. I have been on them bulls my whole life.”
Therefore, getting on Bruiser was something he always had dreamt about.
“That is one of the best greatest bulls there ever will be,” he said. “He is an amazing athlete and always will be.”
Riding a bull like Bruiser added to his already budding confidence that he could compete full time in the PBR.
“Most definitely,” Eldred agreed. “The World Champion Bucking Bull in the PBR. To get that notch under my belt. I have been wanting to have that bull. I just know where I am at in my career and the ability I have. I know what I can do. I show up no matter where I go ready to do my job.
“That is the greatest ride of my career so far.”
It could be the first of many if Eldred gets his way and qualifies for the BFTS in 2017.
In 2015, Cooper Davis, who also spent some time rodeoing before riding in the PBR, won the Denver event and eventually went on to win the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals event title months later.
“I talked to him right before he won the world (this year), and he really wanted me to come over here,” Eldred said. “There are just so many opportunities here.”
Eldred added that he is ready for the challenge of trying to qualify for both the PBR World Finals and the NFR.
“I want to win,” Eldred said. “Whatever I succeed in. Either side. Ride my bulls and be the best.”
A victory in Denver would give him an automatic bid to the BFTS at Iron Cowboy (Feb. 18).
“That’s the plan,” Eldred concluded. “I came here to do my job and ride all three of my bulls and let the chips fall where they may. I would like to go to Oklahoma City. That is my home state.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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