Ty Murray. Ty dadgum Murray. What guy out there does not think a world champion, bull-riding, Rodeo Hall of Fame cowboy is the most awesome dude alive? Ty Murray. Holy cow. I seriously got to talk to Ty Murray today.
In fifth grade, when asked, “If you could do anything in your life, what would it be?” most of his classmates gave the usual replies, like astronaut, firefighter, doctor. But what did Ty have to say? “I want to beat Larry Mahan’s record,” referring to the six-time All-Around World Rodeo Champion. And so he did. Mahan would one day even present him with the engraved trophy buckle, as Ty was inducted into the HOF.
All manly, star-struck, fan stuff aside, though...the rightly-crowned “King of the Cowboys” is honestly one of the friendliest, most approachable people I’ve ever met. Celebrity or otherwise. Wouldn't you know it...all that, and an honestly nice guy, too. Even if he wasn’t the most decorated, celebrated, accomplished athlete in the history of Professional Rodeo, this is a guy I’d hang out with any day of the week.
My wife and I both already respected Ty for his accomplishments. She had met him years before. And of course, being a musician, I knew of his former marriage to singer-songwriter, Jewel. But this FOTF opened my eyes to a totally unexpected man, that I never saw coming. Friendly. Talkative. Open. Down to earth. Humble. He was exactly like, and at the same time, nothing like, the stereotypical cowboy that comes to mind. I say a lot “I’m inspired”, but don’t let that fool you. After talking with Ty, I genuinely am inspired. This is probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, most impressing interviews I’ve ever done.
If I had not known I had world record-setting, World Champion, Rodeo Hall of Famer and co-founder and President of the PRB, Ty Murray on the other end of the line today, I’d have sworn I was talking to a long-time, old friend. Getting some advice. Talking about our kids. Looking back on life. Thinking about what’s to come. What a day. Dang…I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.
If you want to keep up with Ty online, you can do so over at http://www.tymurray.com. I suggest it, and of course I have it bookmarked, myself. And I would encourage you, your kids, your friends and neighbors to all do the same. There are few better places to spend your time on the web, than following one of the coolest, most authentic cowboys in the game. Go, follow his career (even in retirement), buy the man’s merchandise. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hero.
Even better...grab your kids and take them to the next local rodeo that comes to town. They'll never forget it, and neither will you. Check in over at the PBR website at http://pbr.com/ to stay up on all the latest and greatest.
I am thrilled to post this and invite you to share today's experience with me. Join me for five minutes (or less) and soak up my FOTF with world-class, legendary, incredible man, dad and cowboy…Ty Murray.
1. Who has been your greatest influence (personally or artistically), and how?
Well, it started with my dad. My dad has had a lasting effect on my life, even up til now. One thing about him is, my dad shows a lot of grace. I think one of the reasons he’s been so profound in my life is because he never told me anything…he showed me. He set examples. And I don’t know how everyone is, but I think most people learn when they see something. That’s me. I learn by what I see. And that may be unique to me. But I’m fortunate to have had a dad like that. I also had other people who influenced me. After my dad were the guys I got to know when I headed off to college. They were my mentors and then they became my best friends, and still are. Cody Lambert and Jim Sharp. We learn from each other.
2. Which previous job/project had the most impact on you, and why?
Rodeo has shaped my life. And I mean in every area of it. I’ve been riding bulls all my life, and it teaches you a lot of things. Things like toughness. Determination. And to not quit…and mean not quitting on a whole new level. You know I don’t have a degree. I’ve only got two years in Junior College. But to me, success comes from believing in something, something you care about, and then you give it all you got. You know, it’s amazing what can be done when you have passion and drive.
3. Is there a “secret of success”? If so, what? And if not, why?
I don’t really think there’s a secret. Success is just lots of things. And I guess that comes down to what you call success. We’ll say it’s “getting something you’re going hard after”. That kind of success comes from a combination of things, like guts and discipline and determination. And there’s lots of luck involved in success. Look at me. I mean I just happen to be born with a certain body type and a certain way of thinking and a certain personality, and that has served me well in what I do. But a lot of that’s just having a lot of luck. Luck, and family and being surrounded by good people, putting in a good effort. Just going after things.
4. Is there a particular moment or event that had a great effect on your life or career?
That’s easy. No question about it, it was my son. Becoming a dad was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. You know riding bulls is scary, but when you have a kid born, well that’s about the scariest thing ever. You start out with something that came out of nothing, and the doctor takes that baby and puts it in your arms…it’s a scary thing. My son is only 3 ½, but he’s already taught me more about myself, and about what’s important, than I ever thought he could. A kid is the most life-changing experience ever. They teach you about yourself. Teach you what love is. Something you’ll do anything for. Something you’d kill for, if you had to. That’s what my son has done for me, because I didn’t really know what love was til he was born.
5. If you could share one, single pearl of wisdom, what would it be?
I don’t know if I could just tell you one pearl. One thing. I mean, I could say something poetic and all, but really, I guess…well, life’s about living it. And that’s what it comes down to. You live your life and you learn, then you re-learn, then un-learn, then start it all over again. But it’s a great adventure. You know when I was younger, I guess I used to think living a good life meant you had to try to live it perfectly. But you can’t do that. A kid shows you that, too. You can’t live perfect. If you live it and give it your all, then life is going to change and twist and turn and be hard. But you just hold on and live it. I guess that’s a little more than a sentence, but that’s what I'd say.
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