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11.11.2016
In the Company of a Hero

At the beginning of each CBR bull riding four-time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman, pauses the introduction ceremonies to dedicate the performance to the men and women who serve and have served our country in the armed forces of the United States.

“We would not be here today if it were not for their service,” said Hedeman.

American veterans are some of our bravest, hardest working men and women. However it is hard to show them appreciation when they are back home and out of uniform, they are more camouflaged and hard to identify. Greenlight a Vet was created to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one light to green.

Championship Bull Riding is honored to participate in the nationwide Greenlight a Vet program in honor of one of our own active bull riders, Juan Alonzo, United States Army veteran.

Juan Alonzo from Weslaco, Texas, a Veteran of the U.S. Army, is pursuing his dreams of being a professional bull rider after serving two tours in the Middle East.

"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 three years has passed since Alonzo traded combat boots for cowboy boots, and he's worked hard to move up the bull riding ranks.

"Bull Riding is 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.”

 

The Beginning

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

 

The Middle

In January of 2015, a retired soldier entered the CBR locker room in Jackson, Tennessee not as an inspiration, but as a competitor.

That night was the beginning – Alonzo would gather heart and inspiration riding as a rookie and would go on to earn four 90 points rides and finished inside the top 10 that year including a round win during the Finals.

In 2016 on Cheyenne Frontier Days Military Monday and with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds on top of the bucking chutes, Alonzo was 90 points riding Rawson’s Too Juicy for the round win.

Alonzo has posted a total of eight 90 point plus rides including two 91-point rides in El Paso this year and seven round wins.

He rode in all but two events on the 2016 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 in Mercedes that year, against all doctors’ orders, in front of family and friends in his hometown crowd just a few weeks after separating his shoulder.  

As a hero among us, Alonzo quietly continues to pursue his dreams on the Road to Cheyenne and his dedication to country first and his dreams second is an inspiration to all.

 

About Green Light a Vet: America’s veterans are some of our nation’s bravest, hardest-working men and women. However, it’s hard to show them the appreciation they deserve when, back home and out of uniform, they’re more camouflaged than ever. Greenlight A Vet is a campaign to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one light to green. More Info: www.greenlightavet.com.

Editor’s Note: The Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association PAFRA World Finals is being held this weekend, November 10, 12 at the Midland Horseshow Arena in Midland, Texas. There is also a nonprofit organization, http://www.warriorsandrodeo.org/p/about.html. Warriors and Rodeo is a 501C3 non-profit organization designed to give back to those who serve our country to protect our freedoms and keep us safe.


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