If you like feel-good, comeback stories in sports then this one will certainly give you goosebumps.
Former 3rd place ranked Chase Outlaw leaped over the PBR’s hottest up-and-coming star, Brazilian Jose Vitor Leme last night after winning the Last Cowboy Standing event in Cheyenne Montana. After last night’s successful ride, Outlaw was asked by a reporter what it feels like to be the new number one man in the world. He held is young daughter as he answered,
“I’m not looking at any numbers. Not paying attention to any numbers. I don’t check what bull I have. It don’t matter, none of that matters right now. Come about 11pm November 10th [2019 PBR Finals in Vegas] … that’s the only time I’m going to be worried about it. But till then I’m gonna’ have that pedal to the metal. The thing about having your foot on the tiger’s throat is you better not let that son of a gun up and I got that son of a gun mashed to the floor right now.”
Outlaw started riding calves when he was 4 years old and has been riding ever since. Despite the impressive riding records during his 8 years riding professionally in the PBR, Outlaw has always been a winner including being a five-time Arkansas State Champion.
He never said it during any interview, but I would bet his win last night at The Last Cowboy Standing meant more to him than any other in his lengthy career. Exactly a year ago, Outlaw rode and suffered a horrific injury after being headbutted by the bull he rode. He was quickly rushed into a Cheyenne Region Hospital and taken for X-rays. He was immediately rushed into the surgery room after the X-ray showed he shattered nearly every single bone in his face and needed immediate attention.
“It was roughly twelve hours and about 68 screws, 11 plates and 4 pieces of surgical flesh.” Explains PBR veteran writer Justin Felisko, “We’re talking almost a full facial reconstructive surgery.”
In another interview, Outlaw’s sister, Brittany Outlaw, told reporters, “A few hours after surgery, Chase was just as positive as ever… I was shaking my head when he was talking about getting on a bull in a couple months or asking the doctor when the next time he could get on a bull, you know, It’s the first question he wants to know” she laughed.
“Having that accident made me reevaluate a lot of things and just made me realize how lucky I was… and not take it for granted.” – @OutlawChase— PBR (@PBR) July 24, 2019
With his win in Cheyenne, Chase Outlaw has proven to the world nothing will stand between him and a PBR World Championship. pic.twitter.com/155Hcr6VAy
I rolled my ankle just the other week playing slow pitch softball and I haven’t stopped complaining about it since. This tough “son of a gun” is making the rest of us look terrible.
Outlaw has set the standard of tough so high that I would argue it’s unattainable among any athlete in any sport.
In the 12 months since last year’s accident, Outlaw battled rehab and wasted no time getting back on bulls and continuing his career. Statistically speaking he is riding better now than he ever did before the accident cashing in on first place finishes at various events and finishing in the top 10 almost automatically.
He took the adversity he was dealt and pushed it aside. That kind of injury would certainly stop any athlete’s career in its place. Not only did he come back to the sport, he began dominating it and now sits on top looking down amongst the long list of the best riders in the world.
Outlaw’s emotional win on the one-year anniversary at the same event in Cheyenne is a tear-jerking emotional moment that will live on in PBR and athlete history.