Bullrider set to defend his world-champion title

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After Jim Holt won the 50+ division in bull riding for the National Senior Pro Rodeo circuit last year, he had one goal.

"I had to return to prove it wasn't a fluke," said the cowboy from Baggs, Wyo.

Holt proved to his friends up north in Canada that he still has the skills when he won the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo bull riding championship in early October.

"Things clicked well for me there," he said. "It's a nice accomplishment for someone my age."

Holt came out of retirement from bull riding last year after seven years off. He was in his second season of riding this summer when he broke some ribs at a rodeo in Crawford, Neb. His first time back was the final go-round for the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo.

Holt rode three of the four bulls he drew and his eight seconds on a bull named Mr. Wick earned a score of 83 and the top ride of the championship. He also had the highest average for the four rides.

"My week was pretty outstanding," he said. "I may have topped out for how well I did."

While the Canadian championship is comprised of fewer cowboys than the National Senior Pro Rodeo circuit, it still had significance for Holt.

"It is the first time to get the win in Canada," he said. "So it is special to get the new buckle."

Holt started riding in 1975 when he lived in Steamboat Springs. He continued to ride throughout the 1980s and early '90s, eventually riding one year in the NSPR. He said he took a break from riding because he was getting married and working on a house in Baggs. He returned last year with a little coaxing from Wes Hertzog and Dave From, who are also world champion bronc riders.

Once he got back on track, Holt set his sights on the World Championship. Holt rides bulls without a right kneecap but the disability isn't considered a hindrance for Holt.

"With bull riding you just let your legs dangle," he said.

Holt has been back in competition for a little more than a year and has already been sidelined twice with injuries. In August last year he broke his shoulder and collarbone and this year the rib injury came in August as well.

"It's part of the game," he said. "But I'm not sure how long I'll stay in."

Holt said he plans to go for another world title.

He, Hertzog and From will begin soon in Phoenix to defend their titles.

"The Canadian title was a nice accomplishment," he said. "We'll see if we can get at least one more."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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