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Eric Peterson, Published April 05 2013

SD brothers kept on edge of their seats as bull riders

FARGO – Professional bull rider Ardie Maier has broken bones in his neck, lower back and ribs, has had knee surgery and also crushed an eye socket.

“I had a bull hit me in the face in Omaha,” Maier said.

Maier doesn’t dwell on what he calls the few “bad days” he’s experienced.

“There have been a lot of good days in between,” said Maier, a 32-year-old from Timber Lake, S.D. “I get to travel all around the country doing what I love to do. A lot of people go to a job that they are stuck at.”

Maier competed in bull riding Friday night during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Championship event at the Fargodome. Maier didn’t post a score as he was bucked from his bull before his eight seconds had expired. A bull rider must stay on the bull eight seconds to receive a score.

The rodeo continues at 7:30 tonight at the Fargodome, the final day of competition.

Maier joined the PRCA in 2003 and has earned around $500,000 in his career, riding bulls that weigh around 2,000 pounds.

Maier is coming off a week-long break. He expects to be on the road the next six months starting with the event in Fargo. Maier is set to compete tonight at a competition in Texas.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Maier is part of a rodeo family. His grandfather, Bud Day, is in the South Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. His brothers, Corey and Rorey, are also PRCA bull riders.

Corey, who joined the PRCA in 2006, also competed Friday at the Fargodome. Corey also didn’t post a score, getting bucked off his bull before he completed the ride.

The Maier brothers were two of the 21 competitors in Friday’s bull riding event.

Corey, who is also from Timber Lake, is next headed to Logandale, Nevada, for a competition that starts next Thursday. He’s driving to that event.

“We’re going to be hitting her hard,” said Corey, who is 28 years old. “We want to be in Vegas in December.”

Las Vegas is the site of the National Finals Rodeo.

Corey said when he’s in the chute, the battle is between him and the bull he’s riding. While that’s his mindset, there’s also the motivation of a sibling rivalry.

“You want to be able to do better than him, so you have bragging rights going down the road to the next one,” Corey said with a laugh.

Ardie Maier said bull riding is as challenging mentally as it is physically. Once he enters the chute, that’s when he tries to block out everything from his mind, especially the fear factor.

“It’s ‘game on’ when that chute opens, it’s an eight-second ride … riding and getting away clean,” Ardie said. “It’s a hell of an adrenaline rush.”

Ardie Maier won the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in 2010 and 2011. He considers those titles two of his career highlights. He admits that bull riding can be a tough way to make a living because there is no guarantee of a paycheck from event to event.

Ardie said he gets a level of satisfaction out of pushing himself to the limits when he competes, especially when it ends with success.

“I think life’s dangerous. You can either choose to live and live life or you can be sheltered,” Ardie said. “I prefer to just live every day to the fullest.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com