Déjà vu

Aaron Pass is arguably one of the preeminent bull riders on the professional circuit today. He is without doubt one of the most enjoyable guys to be around on the road, but then again how goes the saying, “nice guys finish last”? Well this nice guy does not.  

For the second consecutive year Pass has taken over the #1 ranking early in the CBR World Standings after a strong showing including two 90 point plus rides in Mercedes, Texas on October 18th. The cowboy from the Dallas suburb of Kaufman, Texas sports a career riding average of 44% percent, 20 90 point plus rides including his career best in 2013 when he was 93 points on Norris Dalton’s Shine Time in El Paso, Texas. Pass has racked up 35+ championship wins in regular season bull riding and made the final 4 Shootout round 5 times since CBR changed its event format to the tournament style rounds in 2013.

Pass is no stranger to the post season either; qualifying for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014, finishing 3rd in the 2014 CBR World Standings, Aaron has been to the CBR World Finals 5 times finishing in the top 10 three of the 5 appearances.

Fighting for his way into the PRCA post season, Pass and his adorable wife Kaysie will head to Las Vegas in December in the 14th position for his first National Finals Rodeo after winning $66,545.00 this year in PRCA earnings. His 2014 highlights in PRCA include:

• Won the Molalla (Ore.) Buckeroo Rodeo

• Won the Amarillo (Texas) Tri-State Fair & Rodeo

• Won the Goliad (Texas) County Fair PRCA Rodeo

• Won the Rose City Roundup (Tyler, Texas)

• Co-champion at the Pasadena (Texas) Livestock Show & Rodeo

• Co-champion at the Buc Days ProRodeo (Corpus Christi, Texas)

• Co-champion at the Bull's Night Out Division 2 Qualifying Event Xtreme Bulls (Fort Worth, Texas) __. 

With all those stats and achievements I think some people overlook Aaron Pass because he is not flashy enough. When people think of great bull riders on the circuit today they don’t instantly think of the 5’5 125 pound cowboy now sponsored by High Tech Hunts and Cowboy Outfitters USA. 

World Champions Sage Kimzey, JW Harris, and Cody Teel are immediately referred to in interviews and articles regarding consistency and achievements while Pass is sometimes overlooked. He takes care of business on the road, and at home, and has always had sponsors and family that revere him as their spokesperson and Dad.  

The mild mannered father of two little girls rarely shows emotion, but lets his riding speak for himself in the arena. After five years in the CBR, we have seen Pass ride at the top of the leaderboard and bottom of his career when injured. However, one thing that is consistent, Pass’ numbers and leadership speak for themselves and he is a winner.

There have always been and always will be athletes who are unnoticed. There are specialists in all sports who always take care the little things that do not necessarily earn SportsCenter coverage. Players who fly under the radar and don't make the spectacular play do not get much attention. As a result, many are underrated for what they do. In Mercedes, Pass became one of three riders to ever post a qualified ride on Jimmy Jayne’s super bucker Outside the Box, but came up .5 points shy of the event win. Finishing second to Wyatt Rogers, the new kid on the block, and taking home a check of $23,000 was good enough for Pass as he attempts to stay in prime riding condition heading into the NFR in less than 45 days. 

I think Pass is more overlooked than underrated because of his personality, he does not throw his rope and vests in the dirt after a buck off. He is the chronically the good sport, shaking hands with the winner and heading out to the arena to sign autographs. Pass was selected thru a nationwide fan-voting contest as the “Smokey Mountain Fan Favorite” bull rider of CBR for 2014, without hesitation donated his buckle to Haleigh Lansford, one of CBR’s most devoted bull riding fans who was on hand to see Pass receive his accolades courtesy of Smokey Mountain. He goes about his business and does what is best for the association, the sport and his family.

That is just him.

In one of Bobby Knight’s books he wrote that one of his favorite players, Brian Sloan, didn't score many points or rack up a lot of assists, but he could do one thing better than anyone in college basketball. He got guys open so well in their motion offense that it demanded court time even though he wasn't very skilled. Sloan, the son of former NBA coach Jerry Sloan, did not get articles written about how good of a screener he was, but he did not care if his team won. 

The same can be said for Pass, he is a star that reminds me of a role model in all the right ways. Yes he is good enough to be called a bull riding star and definitely has a leadership role within the CBR, but he does not make a big splash and he definitely doesn’t want to be treated like a demigod. So during the CBR season people tend to overlook how talented he really is. 

On October 14th Pass wrote on Facebook, “This world needs more people willing to hand out blessings then receive them! — Feeling determined.”

Editor’s Note: Pass’s cousin is PRCA bull rider Bryan Richardson, who has been instrumental in Pass’ development in bull riding.