CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The difficult path has never been something that Laramie County Community College freshman Dixon Tattrie has shied away from.
“I think that’s the best place to learn,” Tattrie said. “If you take a little bigger risk and step out of your comfort zone a little bit more, it helps you grow that and be more comfortable in different situations.”
With goals of becoming a professional rider in both saddle bronc and bull riding, Tattire knows that he has be put in positions that force him to grow, and that is one reason why he wanted to make the trip to Wyoming for the start of his college career.
“There is no real comfort zone you get into when getting on a bull, but the more you do it, the less nervous essentially you are. You know your body knows what it’s doing and you just have to trust it and that level of comfort grows with each bull you get on,” he said.
The road to riding rough stock began at home for Tattrie, who said he had a great mentor to learn from in his father, who at one point was one of the top bareback riders in Canada and who was always there to encourage him from the start.
“He was a great mentor to me when I was knee high to a grasshopper getting on sheep,” Tattrie said. “He helped coach me through that and helped me kind of figure out where to go in life.”
As Tattrie has grown older, his drive has only increased to pursue those new experiences, which brought him south of his home in Youngstown, Alberta, Canada, where he is getting tutelage from a bull rider who was built tall and lean like him: Head Coach Seth Glause.
That isn’t to say there weren’t bumps in the road early on, but his decision to make the trip paid off early when he received a book from his new coach after a not-so-great opening rodeo in Chadron, Nebraska.
After getting bucked off both of his bulls in just a few seconds, Glause gave him something that would make an immediate impact.
“I wasn’t struggling with the riding itself, it was more the mental game because I was talking myself out of it before I even got on the bull,” Tattrie explained. “I was just struggling to keep my head in check and then Seth had a book called ‘With Winning in Mind.’
“I got on in Chadron and I got bucked off of both bulls in two or three seconds and he gave me that book that week and I read it before I even got to Riverton. The first bull I rode to 7.5 seconds and the second one I rode, so that mental flip worked out so well for me.”
It wasn’t just a one-time success, either. Seven rodeos later, Tattrie found himself in the running for the Men’s All-Around title going into the final rodeo of the year.
Some might have found pressure in being a freshman rider in a region with some of the top competitors in both bulls and saddle broncs in the country to go with some elite livestock. But for Tattrie, he just embraced the challenge as he has all his life.
“You just kind of expect yourself to win because if you go in thinking ‘I’m not going to do any good at it,’ then you are going to do exactly what you think you will, so I was expecting myself to be at that level where I get to Casper and it worked out for me,” he said.
Tattrie enters the College National Finals Rodeo as the 17th ranked bull rider in the country after winning the Central Rocky Mountain Region title.
While that may not seem like much, he said the stock that they have faced all year has built his confidence going in even more than the results he has achieved.
“It’s the riding that’s given me more confidence than anything rather than winning the region in the bull riding or anything like that,” he said. “I’m trying to let the riding do the talking for me.”
“It’s just all starting to click,” Tattrie added. “Everything has to work together if you want to try to ride a bull and ride a bucking horse. You kind of have to have everything going for you.”
The CNFR kicks off for him on Sunday in the Bulls, Broncs, and Breakaway event, where he hopes to make another step in his path to the pros and continue to make his own name stand out.
“Not everyone knows who Dixon Tattrie is yet,” he said. “I’m kinda just trying to build that name for myself.”