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Proctor school bringing up bull riders

 

Atop a barrel standing in for a bull, Shane Proctor gives aspiring bull riders tips for the trade. - Scott Hunter photos

Shane Proctor remembers his roots.

He returned to the Grand Coulee area last week to put on his seventh annual bull riding clinic at the Nespelem rodeo grounds.

He brought along two of his sidekicks from the professional bull riding circuit, one of them a graduate of his Nespelem clinic.

Putting on the clinic along with Proctor were Gustin Patton from Australia and Derek Kulbaba from Walla Walla.

Kulbaba is a graduate of Proctor's "school of hard knocks," having attended four years at the Nespelem clinic site. His father, a professional rodeo cowboy himself, saw to it that his son had the opportunity to go to bull riding school.

He did, and now he is traveling with the "king" of bull riders, Mr. Shane Proctor himself.

The professional bull riders have a break in their circuit each spring and that's when Proctor asks some of his buddies to come to the coulee to put on the clinic.

Proctor has taken Kulbaba under his wing and is a mentor to the youngster from Walla Walla.

"When he travels with Shane, he can get into better rodeos," Shane's father, Gordon, said Monday.

Proctor's clinic has received enough attention that a CBS Sports film crew was out on opening day to record the activity for a future sports program.

The clinic accommodated 40 riders, many of them local. There were a lot more on hand who will have to wait for another day.

Future bull riders find out it's not all about the glory. Proctor takes them through stretches and exercises in the dirt of the arena. If you plan on getting thrown off bulls regularly, you'd better be fit and limber.

"Come on, I'm not even tired," he said to a group of about 40 kids Wednesday, dropping like flies as he held "planking" positions straight as steel for several minutes.

Demonstrating on a barrel contraption, Proctor told his students how to emulate a windshield wiper's steady rhythm while riding a ton of angry muscle.

"Sometimes I try to hold a can of pop without spilling it," he said.

Not one of the 40 young students attending was able to outlast Proctor in exercises or match his limberness in warm-up stretches, driving home the unspoken point that it takes more than wishes to become a champion.

Gordon Proctor said the bull stock was very good, and some of the riders who turn professional will likely see some of the same bulls when they hit the chutes.

For Proctor, the clinic is an opportunity to come home, see his parents, Gordon and Kathy, and some of his school chums. He graduated from Lake Roosevelt High School in 2003.

Proctor remains lean and mean. "He is within five pounds of his wrestling weight when he wrestled for LRHS," Gordon said.

Currently Proctor is in fifth place in the world standings. He had an excellent early spring and then leveled off a bit.

"Shane will be going in for surgery during the off-season so they can remove some metal plates they put in when he busted his shoulder," Gordon said. "He won't have to miss competition that way."

The broken shoulder kept him out of action for a season, but he has done well since then.

Proctor was world champion bull rider in 2011, and now lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Scott Hunter contributed to this report.

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