TUCSON, Ariz. – Chase Outlaw stared at I’m Legit Too before letting out an exasperated yell in agony.
Outlaw knew he had let a golden opportunity pass him by during the championship round of the Monster Energy Invitational this weekend in Tucson, Arizona, when I’m Legit Too turned back to the right and bucked Outlaw off in 6.08 seconds on Sunday afternoon.
However, don’t expect Outlaw to be making any excuses or worrying about what could have been at this weekend’s Unleash The Beast season opener when he heads to St. Louis next weekend for the PBR St. Louis Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
Outlaw knows that winning a world title is going to come with a rollercoaster of success and failures inside the arena.
It is how you respond that defines a World Champion.
The 30-year-old admitted as such after he won Round 2 earlier in Tucson with his 90-point ride aboard Smooth Over It.
“I’m putting my hands on that (gold) buckle this year and if I don’t, it’ll be my own fault,” Outlaw said. “I’m here to ride every bull that I stick my hand in the rope on. That’s always the goal. Since 2019, that was the last full season that I had. I started 2021 off well and then bad luck, but that’s bull riding. We just have to keep our head down and just keeping our hammer cocked.”
Outlaw began the 2023 season 2-for-3 with a seventh-place finish, and he will head into St. Louis next weekend sitting seventh in the Unleash The Beast standings and 86.5 points behind No. 1 Brady Oleson.
Sunday was Outlaw’s first round win since he won Round 5 of the 2019 PBR World Finals, finishing third in the world standings behind Jess Lockwood and Jose Vitor Leme. He began Tucson with an 88.5-point ride on Deets in Round 1 on Saturday night.
2019 is also the last year Outlaw has been fully healthy and on the premier series.
Outlaw, who has had five shoulder surgeries since 2015, had been limited to only seven UTB events prior to Tucson in the last three seasons because of two reconstructive left shoulder surgeries, a right knee surgery/hip injury and a severe left groin tear that wiped out his 2022 UTB season after four events and The American. In 2020 and 2021, Outlaw was limited to just 12 outs at all levels of PBR competition.
Outlaw eventually returned to competition from his groin surgery during the PBR Team Series with the Oklahoma Freedom, going 9-for-18 (50%) and helping the Freedom advance to the semifinal round of the PBR Team Series Championship weekend.
The Hamburg, Arkansas, native continues to be a pillar of inspiration and strength as he continues to overcome adversity on and off the dirt, and he wants to show everyone just how strong the human body and mind can be. In 2019, Outlaw earned an emotional victory in St. Louis when he won the Mason Lowe Memorial Bull Riding and dedicated the win to his fallen friend.
“I have to make it happen for a lot of reasons, but I am wanting to show how tough I am and the determination of the human body, the human spirit, and what you can do,” Outlaw concluded. “I’ve said it before: what doesn’t break you will build you. I’m tired of being invited. I’m going to hold that son of a bitch up and I’m going to strap that buckle on this year.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media