By trade, Hayden's John Pinnt is an electrician, but that hasn't stopped the 23-year-old from riding bulls to the top of the Mountain States Circuit in 2000.
Pinnt won the overall and the average at the circuit finals in Rock Springs, Wyo., Jan. 29 through 31. For his efforts, Pinnt will be rewarded with a trip to the Dodge National Circuit Finals in Pocatello, Idaho, March 14 through 17. That event will feature 24 of the best cowboys in each event for the country's 12 regions.
"This is my first time and I'm pretty excited," Pinnt said last week. "I'm just happy to get there."
Pinnt drew three top bulls at the Rock Springs events to make it into the final cut. Things didn't look good for the local cowboy after he scored a 67 on the first of three go-arounds on the back of a Hal Burns bull.
But things picked up in the second round as Pinnt recorded a score of 81 on the back of 615 Bandit to move into a solid position with a win. But he still trailed the leader by $60.
"All I needed to do was ride my last bull and I would have enough money to win the thing," Pinnt said.
But after drawing Skoal's Panda a bull Pinnt knows well from the Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series for his last ride, the cowboy knew he was going to have to work to earn the title in his last attempt.
Panda threw Pinnt to the dirt at Brent Romick Arena twice last summer, but at the finals, Pinnt took the upper hand.
"I knew what went wrong in my first two tries and it was all upstairs," Pinnt said. "I knew it was going to be tough but I also knew that I could ride this bull."
Pinnt did ride the bull and scored an 81 for his efforts. It was enough to win the final go-around, the bull-riding event and the average.
Pinnt plans on making the most of the next few months to prepare for the Pocatello rodeo. He will ride at the National Western Stock Show in Denver Saturday through next Wednesday. He is even scheduled to climb on the back of a bull Wednesday his birthday.
From there, Pinnt will ride in events in Wyoming and Arizona as he counts the days leading up to the Dodge Finals.
That rodeo will feature 24 of the nation's top bull riders (two from each circuit) in a two-round qualifier. The top eight from that group will advance to a one-ride final for all the marbles.
Steamboat Springs rodeo announcer John Shipley said Pinnt is one of several regional cowboys that has won a Mountain States Circuit finals title. Others include J.C. Trujillo, Brett Brooks, Dar Haskins, Chad McIntyre, Scott Wheatley and Marty Forester, just to name a few.
The rodeo is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that there is a half-million dollars in prizes up for grabs. It also offers a lot of exposure because the events are televised on ESPN.
"A circuit cowboy can earn more at this one rodeo than he will all year," Shipley said.
The final reason this event is important is that the Pocatella rodeo is a chance for local circuit cowboys to compete against the top-level cowboys who attend the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas every year.
"We like to say it's where the 'Who's Who' of rodeo meets the 'Who's That,'" Shipley said.
For Pinnt, the rodeo is a chance to make a little more money, gain that much-needed exposure and pursue his dream of becoming a full-time rodeo cowboy.
The Hayden native works as an electrician when he isn't on the rodeo road to pay the bills for his family, which included wife Cherissee and daughters Cheianne and Kayla. The Pinnts are expecting their third baby anytime.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.