“My rodeo coach used to always get on to me when I didn't bring it to the college rodeos because he always liked to hear me play,” he said.
GRANDPA WAS A BULL RIDER
Michael Schleicher may be the oldest bull rider in the country.
At age 50, this grandfather of two from North Carolina qualified for his first IFR.
After riding in the late '80s and '90s, Schleicher got back on bulls three years ago after a 13-year layoff. He had quit after “destroying my knee” in a bull riding accident in 1996.
“I was sore for awhile,” Schleicher said of his comeback. “Nowadays the bulls are a lot ranker than they were. You remember the moves and stuff. It's more a mental game, than a physical game.”
Schleicher had kept himself in shape by working out and was surprised by his success.
“I didn't really set a goal of coming to the finals,” he said, “I just wanted to pick up some extra money. Everything starting falling together and it turned out to be more than I expected it to be.”
IFR A FAMILY AFFAIR
The youngest cowboy in IFR 43 is 15-year-old team roper Shayde Kreder of Sperry, who is heading for his father, Shawn. The other father-son pair in the IFR is Chet and Corey Kidd of Statesville, N.C. Chet is competing in steer wrestling while Corey qualified in team roping.
Two sets of brothers are in IFR 43. Canadians Cody and Mathew Mousseau both qualified in steer wrestling while Cody also is in team roping and calf roping. Twin brothers A.J. and Kyle Horton of Stigler qualified in team roping.
There also is a brother and sister in IFR 43, Ross and Jolyn Lowry of Summerville, Ga. Ross qualified in team roping while his sister qualified in breakaway roping.
LAST DAY OF RODEO
Sunday's final performance of the IFR begins at 1:30 p.m. at State Fair Arena. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the OG&E Kids Rodeo.