NEWARK, N.J. – Boudreaux Campbell strolled into the DoubleTree by Hilton Newark Penn Station hotel with bloodshot eyes and a bright smile around 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Campbell had woken up about three hours earlier to catch a flight to Newark, New Jersey, for this weekend’s PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational after getting a few hours of shuteye in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The 23-year-old was in Bismarck Friday night competing at Chad Berger’s PRCA roughstock Bucking Battle event to cap off another weekly run of rodeos in between his PBR Unleash The Beast schedule.
Campbell has not had a day off since Sept. 7. He has competed at a PBR event or PRCA rodeo on 11 straight days.
“Other than Bismarck, where I did no good, it’s been a pretty good week,” Campbell said as he headed to the elevator of the hotel. “I’m about ready to go give myself a nap.”
Eleven straight days of riding 1,500-pound bulls across seven states is undoubtedly a daunting task, one that many riders cannot handle, but Campbell is committed to qualifying for both the PBR World Finals and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo this season.
“It’s been alright. It hasn’t been too hard,” Campbell said. “I’m just kind of staying loose, staying cool. I’m a little sore coming in here this weekend, but it’s not going to affect me. I’ve been riding good. I haven’t had a day off, but it’s been good. I’ve been riding good, and feeling good, and winning a bunch of money, and I think I’ve hopefully secured my fifth NFR qualification.”
As of Saturday morning, Campbell was sitting sixth in the PBR world standings and 13th in the PRCA’s bull riding standings.
The Top 15 riders in the PRCA standings, which is based on money won, qualify for the NFR. The PRCA regular season concludes Sept. 30.
“This past couple of weeks was just get out of the bubble situation and secure a spot at the NFR, and come here and stay on all my bulls,” Campbell said before Round 1 at the Prudential Center. “That’s the goal. I want to have the highest riding percentage out of everybody here.”
Mad Calvin bucked Campbell off in 2.69 seconds in Round 1.
“Yeah, maybe I am a little tired,” Campbell joked after his buckoff.
Campbell is the only bull rider currently holding a qualification spot for both prestigious events this year.
The last bull rider to qualify for the PBR Finals and NFR in back-to-back seasons is nine-time PBR Finals qualifier Shane Proctor (2015-16). Proctor, the 2011 PRCA champion, is on pace to qualify for his first NFR since 2016.
“That’s a big steppingstone because, at the beginning of this year, I thought it was going to be easy making the NFR, and it ended up not being real easy,” Campbell said. “It’s a tough year. So making both the Finals this year, that was a big goal for me. I was 16th, 17th in the world a couple weeks ago (in the PRCA), and now I think I will move up to 11th. So just getting in the Top 15 and making it in back-to-back years, that’s pretty cool.”
Campbell went 5-for-8 this week on the rodeo trail, which began last Sunday after finishing the PBR Monster Energy Invitational in Anaheim, California, in fourth place.
He then hustled his way to Puyallup, Washington, Sunday morning to win the Washington State Fair Rodeo with his 86.5-point ride on Ghetto Spread. Campbell then went 2-for-4 to finish seventh the PRCA Xtreme Bulls Finale in Pendleton, Oregon, before winning Round 1 of the Pendleton Round-Up Wednesday with an 88.5-point ride on Bouchon.
Campbell said he would have liked at least a few days off in between events, but there is no time to slow down this time of year. However, he believes getting on bulls consistently is better for him than just competing at PBR events on the weekend.
“You get in a groove, and you start riding good, and you’re getting on bulls every single day, it’s easier like that because you kind of do the same routine,” Campbell said. “You’re sticking to the same baseline. So yeah, you’re getting in a good routine like that when you’re getting on every single day. It’d be nice to have one or two days off in between, but yeah, I think it helps a little bit.”
Campbell will look to turn around his weekend in Newark during Round 2 on Championship Sunday (CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET) before having a few days off before his next rodeo.
“I can be Top 10 in both the PBR and PRCA by the end of the year,” Campbell said. “It’s not bad. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. Them guys ride really good over there, so it’s just going to the (NFR) and making it work there. I can make $500,000 at the end of this year, maybe more.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media