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Pro Bull Rider Stetson Lawrence Gets Candid About the Tragic Deaths, Gory Details of His Profession (Exclusive)

Pro Bull Rider Stetson Lawrence Gets Candid About the Tragic Deaths Gory Details of His Profession 549
805 Beer

As one of the most accomplished bull riders of his generation, Stetson Lawrence is well-versed in the euphoric highs and the crushing lows of his beloved line of work. 

Over the course of his career, Lawrence, 35 — who retired from professional bull riding in 2022 — admitted to being “always scared,” but embracing the fear is what made him so successful.

“It’s about controlling the nerves and pushing past it that’s exciting for me,” Lawrence exclusively told Us Weekly. “It was an adrenaline kick that I could get the dopamines from, I guess.”

Lawrence explained that bull riding is “not like football or basketball where you blow a whistle and it stops. It’s not over until you’re out of the arena and free and clear.”

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Sometimes, he wasn’t able to get away totally free and clear, which resulted in Lawrence getting “two little horseshoes on each calf” — which he’ll explain below.

“They call it the dewclaw on the back of a bull’s hoof,” Lawrence recalled. “There’s these little pointy things and it ripped my skin. I got one back when I was 18 and I got the second one the last year I rode, actually. I got stopped on in Oklahoma City. It ripped my calf open and had 30 some stitches in it.”

Bull Rider Stetson Lawrence Breaks Down the Gory Details of Job
Harry How/Getty Images

Despite the bumps, bruises and gashes, Lawrence knows it’s not much to complain about in a sport that “can take your life,” as he was forced to realize on multiple occasions. 

“I’ve seen a couple of my buddies pass away throughout the years,” he said. “It’s dangerous. Every time you strap your hands to a roughly 2,000-pound bull, you’re at their mercy. You can’t control them.”

Still, being confronted with his own mortality never made Lawrence think twice about hanging things up. 

“The way I look at it, it’s a choice. I chose to do this sport,” he noted. “It’s no hidden secret, I knew going into it that bull riding is dangerous. It’s the line of work I chose.”

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Lawrence was struck by the legacy of one friend in particular, who he knew wouldn’t have wanted him to let go of the reins. 

Bull Rider Stetson Lawrence Breaks Down the Gory Details of Job
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

“It’s sad that it happened, but he was doing what he loved to do,” Lawrence reflected. “I commend him for doing that. I don’t think he would want it any other way as far as his buddies going on to keep riding. I don’t think he would want anybody to stop.”

Lawrence is the subject of a new documentary from 805 Beer and director Keith Malloy, called Another Eight Seconds. The doc traces Lawrence’s humble upbringings, his Native American roots and the rodeo culture that ultimately propelled him to being a nine-time PBR world finals qualifier.

Another Eight Seconds is available to stream now on YouTube.

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