EARNING A BUCK

After finishing fourth in 2001 with a total of $106,556 in prize money, bareback rider “Pistol” Pete Hawkins is favored to win this year’s summer rodeo season. Here, we catch up with Hawkins, age 28, in the middle of the 2002 circuit.

AW: What’s the scariest thing about your profession?
PH:
The worst part is the amount of travel and time away from your family. We [rodeo cowboys] don’t really think a lot about being scared, even though every time we ride there is an element of danger.

AW: what’s the worst injury you’ve experienced so far?
PH:
In 2000, I broke my back. A horse flipped over on top of me during a ride in St. Paul, Oregon. I initially thought that I had just pulled a muscle and drove up to compete in Alberta following that rodeo. I got up the next morning and could hardly move. I eventually made my way down to Denver to seek treatment four days after the injury occurred.

AW: How did you get started as a bareback-bronc rider?
PH:
My dad [Guy Hawkins] rode bareback professionally. I first hopped on to ride a horse when I was 15. I was going to do what he did and try to follow in his footsteps.

AW: What do you do with your winnings?
PH:
I’ve purchased a home, some land, and some cows. My wife and I, along with one of her friends, started a boutique. We’re just to trying to put some money away and set the table for later in life.

— JAMES E. MAYFIELD