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06.24.2016
United States Army Veteran Returns to Cheyenne

At the beginning of each and every performance at a Championship Bull Riding event, Tuff Hedeman dedicates the performance to the military from all branches of the service, both active service men and women and veterans. In January of 2015, a retired soldier entered the locker room in Jackson, Tennessee not as an inspiration, but as a competitor.

United States Army Veteran Juan Alonzo jump started his bull riding career in 2015 with four 90 point plus rides in the regular season and during his rookie year with Championship Bull Riding. Alonzo is returning to Cheyenne on July 25 for his second appearance at the CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

23-year-old Juan Alonzo from Weslaco, Texas, retired from the US Army after five years including two tours in Afghanistan. Despite experiencing combat on a daily basis, Alonzo always wanted to become a bull rider.

"I love this sport, this is all I ever wanted to do and it's always been on my mind," said Alonzo, who even during his deployment would practice on a homemade bull machine made with a barrel and rope.

"Right after I got in the military, they wanted to keep me in and send me to Special Forces to do all kinds of stuff. But I turned everything down and told them 'No, I want to ride bulls for the rest of my life.'"

Now, more than two years has passed since Alonzo traded combat boots for cowboy boots, and he's worked hard to move up the ranks, qualifying for his first CBR World Finals in 2015 and winning the first round with a spectacular ride on 327 Evil Knievel for 90 points. Alonzo has posted a total of seven 90 point plus rides including two 91 points rides in El Paso this year and six round wins.

Alonzo rode consistently enough to advance to the second round six of the thirteen events he entered and made the final four round once. He rode in all but two events on this year’s Road to Cheyenne and those two events missed, Laughlin and Conroe, were due to a severe shoulder injury. His dedication to the sport was clear when he returned to ride, against all doctors’ orders, in front of family and friends in his hometown crowd just a few weeks after separating his shoulder.   

Juan has heard the whistle eight times in 20 outs during the 2016 Road to Cheyenne CBR season and qualified for the final Shoot Out round five times since joining the CBR tour. Although he has not won an event title yet, he came very close in El Paso with his two 91 point rides including riding 626 Karaoke (Elite). But Bull of the Year Nominee Yellow Hair (Hurst) would diminish that championship dream at 6.82 seconds in the Shoot Out round.

"It's about who's got the biggest heart and who wants it real bad," Alonzo said. "Yeah, it's going to be rough, you're going to be scared, but you've got to know how to control your fear and go on with your business and let your skill and muscle memory take over.”

Alonzo’s career with CBR started in 2015 when he came to Jackson, Tennessee in the qualifier on the Friday night Horizon Series portion of the event. Alonzo covered his bull and Tuff Hedeman rewarded him with a draw slot on night two, the CBR Road to Cheyenne televised tour event.

Juan earned his way on the televised tour on night tow in Jackson riding Benny Cude’s White Wings for 86 points in round one. He marched on thru the 2015 season covering Elite Buckin Bull’s 626 Karaoke for 91 points in Hobbs, the second event on tour and finishing the season riding three of his five bulls in Cheyenne including a shot at the Bounty Bull on night one during his first CBR World Finals appearance. In 2015 Alonzo finished 11th in the final 2015 standings and 8th in the Horizon Series final rankings.

 

It’s All In the Family

Alonzo is a second generation bull rider, his father rode bulls in amateur competition and it was his dream to follow in his footsteps… determined to be a professional bull rider upon return to the United States.

Juan Alonzo will be making his second appearance in Cheyenne in front of family and friends at the CBR World Finals competition. He enters Cheyenne locked in at No. 13 in the CBR World Standings with an opportunity to finish inside the top ten. His dedication to country first and his dreams second is an inspiration to all.


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