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Mike Lee (bull rider)

Mike Lee (bull rider)

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Mike Lee in Edmonton, Alberta on July 26, 2008.

Michael Lee (born June 11, 1983 in Billings, Montana) is an American professional bull rider. From 2002-2017, he competed on the Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) Bud Light Cup (BLC) and Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) tours. He is the 2004 PBR World Champion. Lee announced his retirement from the PBR in January 2018. He is now riding on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), Championship Bull Riding (CBR) and Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding (THBR) tours.

Career milestones

Lee rode bulls while growing up, and he joined the PBR Touring Pro Division when he was 18 years old. Lee also competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and filled his permit within months.[1] Lee first broke onto the PBR scene in 2002. He became the first rider to win both the PBR World Finals event title and World Championship simultaneously, which he accomplished in 2004. He is also the first rider to win the PBR World Championship without a regular-season event win. He has qualified for the PBR World Finals every single year since his 2002 debut.[2]

The year 2007 was a difficult year professionally for Lee due to severe head injuries. Lee is one of the growing number of PBR riders favoring the helmet to the familiar cowboy hat, which he attributes to avoidance and exacerbation of career and life-threatening injuries. Lee credits the helmet for having saved his life after incurring a severe head injury and skull fracture at a pro rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 2003, which required brain surgery.[3]

On Saturday night, April 16, 2016, in the Stanley Performance In Action Invitational, in Billings, Montana, Lee joined Guilherme Marchi as the second bull rider in PBR history to complete 500 qualified rides. He rode Tahonta's Magic for 86.75 points during Round 2.[4] At that time, Lee was 500-for-1,068 (46.82 percent) in his BFTS career. He has 14 event wins, 23 90-points rides, and one gold buckle (championship). He has obtained 50 or more qualified rides in a season three times. One time was a career best of 54 qualified rides in 2008.[4] About all of his success at the time of his 500 ride accomplishment, Lee had this to say, "It is all thanks to God that I am still here," Lee concluded. "Just to stay healthy and be blessed this much is something to be happy for and have joy for."[4]

Lee qualified for the PBR World Finals a record sixteen consecutive times (2002-2017).[5] In November, 2017 Lee announced via Facebook that he was going to focus his bull riding career in other associations.[5]

Faith on the road

Lee, who is a Christian cowboy, gives all credit for his success to his faith in God. He lets everyone know the reason for his success. He takes a knee after each ride, regardless of whether he wins or loses, giving thanks on the arena. There is a cross applique on his chaps. When he gives autographs, he always includes three crosses with it. Lee also includes messages of faith on all of his social media accounts.[1] Lee was an instructor at the former Christian Bull Riding and Bull Fighting School which was held at the Frost Ranch in Lane, Oklahoma. It was an annual event in honor of Lane Frost, an iconic bull rider who died of injuries from a bucking bull in Cheyenne, Wyoming. On October 8, 2017, the school announced it was closing. It ran every June from 2005 to 2016.[6]

Personal life

Lee was born in Billings, Montana, on June 11, 1983.[1][7]) When he was 4 years old, the family moved to Paradise, Texas. Later on, they moved to Decatur, Texas, where he still lives with his wife and children.[4] Lee is married to wife Dana. They live together with their three children in Decatur, Texas.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Mike Lee World Champion Bull Rider". thelemonadedigest.com. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Lee wins PBR World Finals championship, season standings". Plainview Daily Herald. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Facing the Bull: The Most Dangerous Eight Seconds in Sports". National Geographic News. news.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved April 18, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Lee's spirit carried him to 500 rides". Professional Bull Riders. www.pbr.com. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Kusek, Joe. "Shane Proctor, Mike Lee stepping away from Professional Bull Riders". 406 MT SPORTS. www.405mtnsports.com. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Lane Frost Memorial Christian Bull Riding and Bull Fighting School". Facebook. www.facebook.com. Retrieved October 20, 2017. 
  7. ^ Lee inspired by faith and family
  8. ^ "About Mike Lee". Mike Lee World Champion. www.mikeleetakingthebullbythehorns.com. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 

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