Tuesday, May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024
81° F Dallas, TX

A Conversation With Captain Mexico

Gerardo Venegas hopes to lead his team of bull-riders to glory at the PBR Global Cup at AT&T Stadium on February 15.
Gerardo Venegas portraits
Billy Surface

What’s your favorite rodeo movie, 8 Seconds or Rodeo & Juliet?
Well, gosh, there aren’t too many of them. I’d say 8 Seconds.

The PBR Global Cup comes to AT&T Stadium on February 15. It started in Edmonton, then went to Sydney, and this will be the second year that it’s in Arlington. It’s your third year as head coach for Team Mexico. How would you describe it? It’s an international bull-riding event. The PBR brings five countries, and they get six guys from each country to compete for a global cup.

I’ve read that the cup is actually made of five bull horns containing the native soil of the five countries. How big is the purse? $750,000.

What’s your coaching advice? Is it basically to hold on? Yeah, pretty much. It’s mostly about yourself. Bull riding is such a mental sport. You are competing against the other guys, the other countries. But the main deal is you’re competing against the bull. The only thing you can actually control is that. You cannot fake how good you are.

Last year, you led Team Mexico to the nation’s best showing, which was a paltry second to last. You beat Canada but lost to Brazil, the USA, the historic all-Native American team, and Australia. Who’s your biggest competition this year? It comes to the top two strong ones, America and Brazil. But as a competitor, you can’t worry about what the other guy is going to do. You’ve got to focus on your task, which is to ride the bull.

How, or why, did you first get on a bull? Through my family. My dad grew up in a Western environment, in the cowboy environment, ranching style. So I started competing in amateur bull riding when I was 13 in Mexico. My brothers were already involved in rodeo and stuff.

You live in Fort Worth. What brought you to Cowtown? I came here to America in 2001 and got my professional card in 2003. I moved here in the beginning, when I came to try my luck at the professional level. Texas is big-time for rodeo and so central, especially for bull riding. There’s a lot of competitions around here, from amateur to professional.

You were the first Mexican-born rider to reach the PBR World Finals in 2003. What was your greatest ride? I don’t know, I’d say the PBR World Finals, the last round in 2005.

Do you still compete? No, ma’am. I’m too old for that now.

What’s your worst injury? Ever been gored? I broke my legs four times. It’s just about how bad you’re going to get hurt. Unfortunately my injuries made me sit out for a while. In the last 14 months, I broke my left leg three times. They required serious surgery. That was my deal, pretty much.

How many pairs of boots do you own? I think like two or three? Actually, I have three because I just bought me a new pair of boots. But I only had two before that. [laughs] You don’t need to have too many pair of boots. You’ve only got two feet.

If you run into Jerry Jones at AT&T Stadium, what would you want to tell him about bull riding? That’s an awkward question, if you don’t know too much about rodeo. I would thank him for doing a great job for helping the PBR. AT&T Stadium is such a huge place, and the attention the home of the Dallas Cowboys gets is so great. I would thank him for supporting the Western sports.

What was the best bull-riding advice your dad gave you growing up? Try hard. Don’t give up. Don’t let go.