Interview With Neil Holmes

Neil Holmes made his CBR debut in late 2009, and he made an instant impact by qualifying for the Tour Finale.  He started the 2010 season very well, picking up his first-ever win at a CBR televised event.  At the Huron event in early September, however, he had one of the worst bull riding wrecks of the season.  The injury put him out until the Tour Finale, but he is healthy and ready to go for 2011.  Holmes has already finished third at a 2011 CBR Horizon Series event, and he is currently 15th in the season standings.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Neil Holmes.  I asked him about his big win in Nashville in early 2010, the nasty wreck in Huron, his goals for 2011, etc.  If you have anything to add, please visit our Facebook page and give your input.  Also, you can always email me at:  Enjoy!

Cody:  Neil, you made your CBR debut in late 2009 and finished second in Lubbock shortly thereafter.  How much confidence did that give you going into the 2010 season?

Neil:  2010 was my first full season.  After barely making the Tour Finale in 2009, I was able to get the jitters out and went into the new season totally focused on winning.

Cody:  You won your first-career CBR televised event at Nashville in February.  What did that win mean to you?

Neil:  It was a great experience, but more importantly, it was fuel to the fire.  It motivated me to continue to strive for the gold buckle.

Cody:  On the other side of things, your wreck in Huron was one of the worst in CBR history.  What all do you remember about the wreck?

Neil:  I really don't remember the wreck or the day it happened for that matter.  When the doctor was stitching up my lip in the Emergency Room, I remember telling him to hurry because I might have made it to the Championship Round.  That's when I found out what had happened and the severity of the injuries.

Cody:  You surprisingly returned for the Tour Finale just one month after the wreck.  How did you feel then, and how are you feeling now?

Neil:  I was told I would be out three months, but after only a few weeks, I was moving around well and felt I was able to compete.  The Tour Finale was my first competition back, but I didn't ride as well as I should have.  However, I felt great physically.  Now I'm back riding and winning with no problems from the injury.

Cody:  You finished 17th in the final 2010 CBR standings.  What are your goals for 2011?

Neil:  Unfortunately, I didn't finish the 2010 season how I had planned, but 2011 is no different.  I plan to give 110 percent on every bull I get on and be rewarded with a World Title at the end of the year.

Cody:  Other than your win in Nashville, what has been your biggest highlight in the CBR?

Neil:  Competing in Championship Bull Riding is a wonderful experience, but my biggest highlight is surrounding myself with all the great people and bull riders.  The ability to get advice and tips from guys like Tuff Hedeman and Don Gay is like a basketball player having a pickup game with Michael Jordan.

Cody:  Well said Neil.  Which other riders do you enjoy watching?

Neil:  By watching guys like J.W. Harris and Wesley Silcox, you are bound to pick up something beneficial that can be applied to your own bull riding.  Plus, it's always great to see World Champions at work.

Cody:  List a couple CBR bulls you enjoy watching but haven't had the chance to get on yet.

Neil:  I would love the chance to get on Roper's Like Mike and Directory Assistance.  If you make the whistle on them, it's proven you will be a bunch of points.  That being said, they are no day off.

Cody:  Switching gears a little, who introduced you to bull riding?  Also, when did you get on your first bull?

Neil:  I kind of introduced myself to bull riding.  I saw guys doing it and wanted to try it.  When I was a senior in high school, I got on my first bull.  I started entering local rodeos, and that's where I met Johnathan Brown and Craig Jackson.  They took me in and started letting me ride with them, and we never looked back!

Cody:  Who were some of your heroes growing up (in or out of rodeo)?

Neil:  As a bull rider, I look up to guys like Don Gay and Charles Sampson because they did something no others have done.  But my hero in life is definitely my mother.  She is an amazing person.

Cody:  What other things do you enjoy doing when you aren't riding bulls?

Neil:  When I'm able to be home, I just enjoy hanging out with friends and family.  I also love riding my motorcycle because it keeps my edge.  In addition, I'm always working on bettering my riding in some way.

Cody:  What profession would you be in if you weren't a bull rider?

Neil:  I always wanted to do Agricultural Research.  When I was in high school, I was accepted to a research apprentice program that I continued throughout my college years at Prairie View A&M University.  Go Panthers!

Cody:  Neil, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview, and good luck in 2011.  If you want to thank any sponsors, you can do that now.

Neil:  I would like to thank my sponsor, J.C. Knapp Rodeo Company, for all their support.  Most importantly, I want to thank God for making all this possible.