The making of bareback rider Tim O’Connell, one of the best athletes in all of rodeo

Professional rodeo is full of great athletes, but if you polled all of the contestants, three-time bareback riding World Champion Tim O’Connell would be a very common answer.

Not only is he in great physical shape, but mentally, he is always intense and focused.

O’Connell says a day in his life is not as exciting as everyone thinks it is. He takes his son to daycare, goes to the gym, gets done every chore on his list around the house and then hangs out with his wife and son at night. On the road, he says, he is basically a truck driver trying to eat healthy.

However, the day of a rodeo is a different story. For O’Connell, everything is routine. At every rodeo, his arrival time, the way he takes his stuff out of his bag, the way he checks his equipment and his warmup is always the same.

“Right when I start taping up, my mind starts kind of coming into game mode, like, a little more intense than what I am just sitting there when I first bring my bag in,” he said. “The switch flips and I can just tune into what I’m doing.”

Meet the NFR Athletes is Presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes are Presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athlete is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athlete is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athlete is presented by Montana Silversmiths