It takes a smart person to recognize the absolute, but it takes a strong person to accept it. Especially when that absolute changes your life in way you didn’t expect, or hope. Stetson Lawrence is both of these attributes and so much more, one of the many reasons why we’re beyond proud to call him an 805 Authentico.
For some background, Stetson is a professional bull rider. He spent almost a decade on the Professional Bull Riders Tour, and spent a majority of that time ranked as one of the best in the world. Bull riding is both an art and a sport where mental strength and stability reign supreme. Stetson mastered this delicate balance and could do the dance that is hopping on a large, wild animal and not falling off with flair.
But in March, while riding in the Global Cup in Arlington, Texas, Stetson landed on his head and experienced numbness in both of his arms. Because of a previous fracture in his neck the year before, a doctor recommended he see a spine specialist. It was this specialist that had to deliver him some difficult news: another impact on his head would almost certainly paralyze him from the neck down. It wasn’t what he was expecting, and he was initially devastated.
More than anything, Stetson wanted to finish the year’s tour circuit. But he was also more than grateful to be part of the race and finish at the top of his game. We talked with Stetson to see how he’s feeling about everything now that he’s settled into retirement life, and we’re pleased to report that he’s still radiating his trademark positivity, resolve, and overall good vibes.
He’s still smoothing out some of the rougher edges to his new life path, but he’s taking it all in stride. “When people see me they aren’t asking, ‘When are you going to ride again?’” he told us. “Instead it’s, ‘I’m sorry,’ or, ‘congratulations,’ both feel weird.”
“I don’t even know where to begin,” he continued. “Bullriding was everything to me, and it has been for the last 15 years or more. Almost every opportunity I’ve ever had in life so far has come because of bull riding. It allowed me to see the world, make a living, and have experiences I never would have otherwise.”
Thankfully, he’s still sticking around the world that he knows and loves, and won’t be a stranger at bull riding events. “I have been trying my hand at broadcasting and have really been liking that,” he told us. “I was able to do the Billings, PBR, the World Finals, and the Team Draft. Hopefully, there will be more of that to come.”
What else is on Stetson’s agenda for the foreseeable future? “I’m focusing on enjoying my summer and doing things people normally do on the weekends like going to the lake, camping, and more,” he said. “Bullriding will continue to open doors for me. I’ve made some great friendships in this industry, and you never know what will come about.”
“I want to say thank you to 805 for sticking by me,” he finished. “Firestone Walker truly is a family and I know this because every step of the way I’ve felt their support.”
Thank you, Stetson, we love having you around and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Here’s to you, retirement, and raising a couple of cold ones together next time we see you.