No Bull
They're Hunters and Proud of It!!!

Text and Photos by Jerry Springer
Gilbert Carrillo, professional bull rider and hunter, gives this ride his best at the 2001 PBR Reno event.
They're professional athletes and not afraid to say they're hunters!

While many celebrities and professional athletes shy away from telling people they hunt, fearful of possible negative reaction, this is not true of the competitors of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR).

As I looked through the program of the PBR Bullnanza in Reno last September, I was more than pleasantly surprised to read that 18 of the 45 riders for this Bud Light Cup event listed hunting as one of their hobbies. That's 40% of the riders! What other professional sport can you think of that can boast that percentage of hunters, let alone have them openly state it in an event program?

On both evenings of the competition the singing of the National Anthem was followed with a prayer. Unusual for any other sporting event but a PBR event is definitely not your normal event. Bull riding is downright dangerous — maybe the most dangerous of all professional sports. Short of a flak-jacket vest, there is nothing between the rider and the bull except his cowboy clothes and his determination. Many a rider hobbles or is carried off when they encounter the railing, ground or, worse yet, the bull in less than a soft landing. Last year one rider lost his life after being stepped on by a bull weighing more than one ton.

If you have been to a NHL or NBA game, you no doubt have noticed that the players pretend, most of the time, that the crowd doesn't exist. They avoid eye contact or rarely acknowledge the crowd. What a difference with the riders of the PBR! Not only are they very willing to sign autographs for fans — at the end of the evening they all come out into the arena and walk the railing, talking, signing autographs and even posing for photographs.

It doesn't take much for a hunter in the crowd to recognize the Mossy Oak sponsor signs or the Mossy Oak camouflage that some of the riders wear. Justin McBride, one of the top riders, wears both vest and chaps in a Mossy Oak pattern.

The event in Reno last year was held on two evenings, Friday and Saturday. Before the Saturday event our associate editor, Diane, and I had a chance to talk with a few of the riders who we had identified as hunters. It was evident in our conversations that hunting is an important part of their lives and these professionals take hunting seriously.

After the interviews Diane and I remarked to each other how down to earth these guys are for professional athletes. After talking with them for just a few minutes, we got the feeling that if you were to meet them in the woods they would invite you back to their camp for a cup of coffee and to discuss hunting.

This year the PBR will once again be in Reno. The event dates are September 6 and 7. We'll be there to watch the fun and excitement and, if time permits, find out how some of the guys did last hunting season. If you are interested in attending this event or other PBR events, hurry and check on tickets at the PBR web site

This is a growing sport with the PBR recently signing deals with NBC, CBS and the Outdoor Life Channel for future television coverage. Currently, you can catch the PBR on TNN on Saturday nights a 7 p.m.

Michael Gaffney

Gaffney hunts with his brother for elk, deer and coyotes. He does most of his hunting in New Mexico with a rifle. He believes that as a hunter he is contributing to the management of wildlife.

Adam and Gilbert Carrillo

The Carrillo brothers (twins) began hunting with their dad in Texas. They hunt for mule deer, elk, and whitetail. Bowhunting is their passion. They like spot-and-stalk hunting in ghillie suits which they make themselves. After the Reno event they were taking off for some dove hunting.

During the interview you could definitely see Gilbert's passion for hunting as his eyes lit-up and started to dance the longer hunting was the topic.

J. W. Hart

Hart has been hunting since he was a youngster. His dad started him out and he has hunted Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. He hunts whitetail deer. He quit rifle hunting a while back but has gotten back into hunting with a bow. He eats what he kills and wants to make sure there is something for his kids to hunt in the future.

Jaron Nunnemaker

Nunnemaker lives in Willits, California and goes out of state to hunt elk. His area of the state is known for great blacktail deer and he makes sure to chase those bucks around during the deer season there.

Other PBR Hunters
Chris Shivers Aaron Semas Chad Wareham
Tater Porter Owen Washburn Norman Curry
Pete Hessman Corey Navarre Cody Hart
Cauy Hudson Bart Jackson Pacen Thygerson
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